Any parent or teacher knows the scenario. The child has committed some act of wrongdoing. You saw him do it, and he knows you saw him do it. But he keeps on insisting that he didn't do it, because he thinks you will have to accept that and not chastise him. And eventually he comes to believe that he really didn't do it. That seems to be the mindset among government ministers at the moment, especially in the DWP.
There's a report out, called Walking the Breadline, by Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty, which calls for an urgent parliamentary enquiry into how "welfare changes and mistakes by Jobcentre Plus staff are causing benefits errors or sanctions, which push vulnerable people into precarious situations". (Guardian) There's much more on the report in the article, including the fact that it wants the DWP to publish the data on the number of people sanctioned. (Remember the DWP has just refused to do so.) Other papers also report this, including, with breathtaking hypocrisy, the Express and also the Telegraph. "Half a million can't afford to feed themselves after benefit reforms" is the headline in the Telegraph. Whether any of the papers went to Iain Duncan Smith for a response I don't know, but there isn't one.
The report is also concerned about the possible impact of Universal Credit. A recent Cabinet Office report said that UC was in danger of failing. But that couldn't be IDS's fault. According to an article by Isabel Hardman in the Spectator, it's all the fault of the civil servants. "One loyal cabinet colleague of Iain Duncan Smith says the Secretary of State was 'extremely badly let down' by his officials on the 'shockingly bad' set-up of Universal Credit." Interestingly, if a local councillor blames his officers for anything, it's a hanging offence. Or rather, he gets suspended. But MPs can apparently do it with impunity. There's a longer quote from this article which I find fascinating. "In his biography of the Chancellor, Janan Ganesh reported that Osborne was suspicious that the Christian sense of mission behind the plan might blind those advocating it to whether it would really work. But those close to the Work and Pensions Secretary believe he has since managed to make the case to the Treasury for this reform. ‘Iain has taken George with him and we do have the support of George now on universal credit,’ says a source close to the minister. Indeed, Osborne seemed happy to praise the Credit in a speech on welfare in April."
So however bad things get; however great the suffering of the victims; it won't be the government's fault.