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Committee grills IDS over universal credit failures

04 February 2014

Yesterday Ian Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary, was questioned by the Work and Pensions Committee about setbacks in the implementation of the new Universal Credit.

In an, at times, bad-tempered exchange (at one point, IDS accused Labour MP Glenda Jackson of asking incomprehensible questions in a foreign language) with the Committee it was revealed that Howard Shiplee, the senior civil servant in charge of UC, had been off sick since Christmas.

Many Conservative MPs boycotted the two-hour cross-examination.

A key criticism is that IDS hid failures in the IT system as well as problems with the UC timetable. Dame Anne Begg, who chairs the committee, accused him of trying to “sweep things under the carpet," whilst Labour MP Debbie Abrahams accused him of obfuscation, hubris and smoke and mirrors.

For more information see the Guardian report at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/feb/03/iain-duncan-smith-universal-credit

For more about Universal Credit and its timetable see