‘Serious tensions’ threaten Universal Credit £2.4bn overhaul

The anticipated shake up of the benefits systems faces further hurdles after rifts between two departments, at the centre of the scheme, have accelerated pullout of IT elite team.

Documents leaked to the Guardian showing mounting friction between the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Cabinet Office has put “high-level” risks to the project’s success. Withdrawal of Cabinet Office digital experts is cited as one of the most serious problems facing the project this year as the DWP might not be able to obtain the skills required to replace the team at an affordable cost, further leaked documents revealed.

Friction has hit an all-time high over differences in a “twin-track” approach that would see current universal credit development carried forward, while ploughing money into a web-based system to fill in claimant benefit details.

Former Labour welfare minister Frank Field said: “Universal credit staggers on a life-support machine which costs taxpayers increasingly dear. It is creating a raft of problems that will come back to haunt the DWP. Worse still, these problems are cropping up amongst the claims that are meant to be the easiest ones to process.”



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