Monday, 26 May 2014

Burying bad news

You probably missed this.  Only readers of the Guardian and the Independent got to know about a damning indictment of Iain Duncan Smith's massive failure, Universal Credit.  The news was sneaked out at the weekend when attention was elsewhere.  (Not that the BBC would have mentioned it anyway.)  The government has a body called the Major Projects Authority which monitors progress on big, expensive schemes.  It then codes them as green, amber or red, the last being for something that is “unachievable within reasonable timescales and to a reasonable budget without urgent remedial action”.  And that was the code it was going to give to Universal Credit, a step down on last year.  But, according to the Independent, IDS managed to stop it.  Instead UC has been excluded from the list altogether on the grounds that it has been "reset" since February.  Clever, eh?  Our friend the DWP spokesman, wearily having to defend the move, just trotted out the stuff he knows no one believes: "The reality is that universal credit is already making work pay as we roll it out in a careful and controlled way. It's already operating in 10 areas and will start expanding to the rest of the north-west in June.  Jobseekers in other areas are already benefiting from some of its positive impacts through help from a work coach, more digital facilities in jobcentres, and a written agreement setting out what they will do to find work."  Notice how that last bit has nothing to do with UC.
Duncan Smith's habit of refusing to tell his employers (us) anything which reflects badly on him, or which we might not like, is now ingrained.  He told the Work & Pensions select committee that he didn't have to tell them everything because he ran the department, not them.  He has refused a court order to publish the list of organisations involved in workfare.  Meanwhile, the latest Work Programme Official Statistics document was very quietly put out, with no one taking much notice.  (It's here if you're interested.)  The success rate has gone down a bit.  Since it started, around 19% of its alumni have got a job, but for at least a third of those it was only temporary work.  It's the number of ESA people, they claim, which is bringing the outcome rate down.  (A4e scores just under the average for outcomes at 12 months.)  It's another huge slab of wasted money; and more follows it into the pockets of the corporates as "Help to Work" gets under way.
But with the elections over IDS can face the public with a message his favourite papers have made a big deal out of; that they're planning a "crackdown" to limit immigrants' benefits even further.  Except that not many immigrants claim benefits anyway.

8 comments:

  1. Former A4e Client.26 May 2014 15:34

    The Daily Mail interestingly printed this story on 24 May under a heading of 'IDS Benefit plan under such chaos its classed as beyond failure'.

    It seems even the pro-Tory press is losing patience with the incompetence of Ian Duncan Smith's DWP...

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  2. What will it take to get him sacked? He must have some pretty damming stuff on ? Cameron? I am not a fan of the Tory party,but he is one of their biggest liabilities,when/if the real status of these programmes is finally published,the Taxpayers will realize that they have been really screwed over,not to mention the disabled and unemployed.

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  3. They can't sack him now. The majority of people think "welfare reform" is a Tory success. Many of them voted for UKIP.

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  4. Not in Wales.but it seems all parties have jumped on the bandwagon,even though these reforms are costing more than they save.

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    1. "In its report last year, the MPA rated universal credit as amber/red, suggesting its prospects of successful implementation have fallen. At that time it revealed the whole-life cost would be £12.8bn, over £10bn more than DWP said it would cost when it put the programme before Parliament in 2010. It is expected that the cost will rise still further but no assessment is made this time in the MPA report."
      Qoute from the Independant article.

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  5. I predicted a couple of weeks ago that when the cost of the Tory welfare 'reforms' are known that the right-wing press will go on the attack. I also said that it would not win the Tories any more votes and their showing at the local elections was awful.

    At the moment we are looking at Labour winning the May '15 GE, perhaps with a small
    majority but probably forming a coalition with the Liberals.

    History will show this govt' to be a failure on every level. The economy is no better than it was four years ago, indeed the cost of living is higher. Furthermore, our standard of living and aspirations have not been lower for 60 years.

    Britain has become a low skilled, low wage, poverty economy (which is why the Tories hate the poor so much).

    IDS condemns the poor and unemployed for not taking responsibility of their own lives, yet attempts to hide the truth from the people and ignores the failure of the Work Programme (which the Tories don't want to talk about anymore) and the spiralling cost of Universal Credit. Hypocrite.

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    Replies
    1. The Sunday Mirror ran the story regarding the 'reset' on reporting the success of UC. It said less than 6,000 customers were currently in receipt of UC.

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  6. I attended my first appointment today after being awarded ESA support group. The only help the Disability Advisor could give me was to hand me three pieces of paper with three private companies to help me return to work in the future. Remploy Shaw Trust and another, which I have now forgotten. What do Jobentres do because they don't help people to find work.

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