I'm sorry to post only links to news items, but they are coming thick and fast, and showing how Iain Duncan Smith's grand plans continue to unravel.
First, there's an article on the Guardian's website with more evidence that the "There are no targets and no league tables" claim doesn't hold water. It includes a link to the "scorecard" - a league table by any other name - and full accounts by two different JCP staff on how the system works. The figures are interesting; 85,000 sanctions in January alone, with 24,000 of these coming from Work Programme providers. So are Duncan Smith, Mark Hoban, Lord Freud and Neil Couling (the Jobcentre Plus manager) knowingly telling porkies? Probably not. They have never issued an instruction explicitly saying, "You must punish at least x per cent of claimants to get them 'off-flow'". The pressure is more subtle than that. But the effect is the same. What's needed now is a full response from Duncan Smith
Universal Credit is also in trouble. A report tonight (see the Independent) says that the trial of this will be scaled down. There were going to be 4 areas piloting it in a month's time; now it's going to be just one, a jobcentre in Ashton under Lyne. They don't have the experience, training or computer programmes in place to do any more at present. Embarrassing.
And with the bedroom tax starting on Monday, the National Housing Federation, representing 1,200 housing associations, says that it will hurt the most vulnerable (also in the Independent). There's no need for it in many areas, and nowhere for the displaced to move to. They also point out that where disabled people have to move out of specially adapted homes, it will cost millions more to adapt their new homes. This all comes on top of Frank Field MP telling councils to brick up doors or knock down walls to avoid the tax, and Nottingham apparently re-designating lots of properties as one-bedroom.
One wonders whether any of the media have invited Iain Duncan Smith to be interviewed, particularly by someone who knows the subject.