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Little evidence to back up Universal Credit introduction - biggest welfare reform in 50 years

08 March 2018

The Work and Pensions Committee publishes its assessment of reviews of Universal Credit, carried out by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA). 

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Chair of the Committee Rt Hon Frank Field MP said:

"Perhaps the most damning point that emerges from any assessment of the Government's progress on Universal Credit is that in the eighth year of the programme, the Department itself has yet to produce the full business case for its own mega reform.

The programme managers appear to expect us, the public, and the Minister responsible to take it on faith that UC will deliver the much improved employment outcomes they claim for the vast range of people – disabled, single parents, carers, the self-employed - who will claim UC. At the moment they are relying on the simplest cases – single, unemployed claimants with no children. They have produced no evidence to back up the key, central economic assumption of the biggest reform to our welfare system in 50 years. William Beveridge will be rolling in his grave.

The Reviews, which barely mention claimants, are also shot through with management gobbledegook. Were I the Minister in charge, I would have either rejected or ignored much of it entirely as totally incomprehensible. They were of course not designed for public consumption, but this major reform would surely have been served better by a much more transparent approach."

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