If you depended on the BBC for your news - and apparently many still do - or if you thought that the Sun, the Mail and the Express were newspapers, you would know nothing about Universal Credit beyond the vague assurances that it's coming and will "make work pay". But there are still some real journalists who take an interest in such matters. One of them is Emily Dugan, who wrote a disturbing piece for the Independent on Saturday. She went to Warrington, one of the pilot areas, and spoke to the people who are having to suffer the consequences of UC; the claimants whose benefit wasn't paid or who found themselves in rent arrears because the money which was supposed to go straight to the landlord didn't; the Housing Associations trying to cope with a haphazard system which puts tenants at risk of eviction through no fault of their own; the CAB worker who says that the problems are increasing.
Sheila Gilmore MP is on the Work & Pensions select committee. She has written a piece on the Progress website about what they are being told and why they don't believe it. The meaningless waffle they get from civil servants is familiar to many of us, but it's trying to hide the fact that UC is a grotesque failure.
There are still only about 6,000 people on UC, and they are all the "easy" cases - single, no complications. Yet the IT obviously doesn't work even for them. I reckon that the plan for the Tories is simply to coast towards the 2015 election, delaying the roll-out. After that, whoever gets in can make the decision on whether to cancel the whole grisly project or to plough on since the only people who will suffer don't count.
The same may well apply to Help to Work. It was supposed to have started, but the workfare component was delayed to give at least the semblance of legitimacy to G4S's chunk of the contracts (no one was fooled but the DWP doesn't care). The rest of it - signing on every day, spending all day every day doing "jobsearch" in the Jobcentre - was never feasible and hasn't started either. But as far as Iain Duncan Smith is concerned, who cares? The propaganda has been successful beyond his wildest dreams. And there are very few journalists out there willing to report the truth.