UK – Secret report reveals ‘real danger’ to welfare reform

There is “a very real danger” that the Government’s welfare reform could fail because of a lack of skilled staff, an internal Whitehall review has found.

George Osborne is warned of disaster over welfare reforms
Universal Credit, the brainchild of Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, is the centrepiece of the Government’s welfare reform agenda Photo: Joshua Pulman / Alamy

A team of commercial experts working for the Treasury and Cabinet Office highlighted a number of risks, problems and uncertainties around the plan to create a new Universal Credit welfare system by 2013.

Universal Credit is due to replace benefits including Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, and tax credits.

Ministers say the radical change will simplify the welfare system, better encourage claimants to seek work and cut down on fraud and error.

Because of the scale of the changes involved, the development of the new system is being overseen by the Major Projects Authority, a central team of procurement experts.

The Daily Telegraph has seen a copy of MPA’s initial report on Universal Credit, completed earlier this year. The 14-page report is marked PROTECT to indicate a sensitive internal document.

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