HMRC's real-time information project, which is intended to enable employers to pay staff taxes more easily, is "very much on track", according to David Gauke, exchequer secretary to the Treasury.
Meanwhile, the government's universal credit benefits system also remains on schedule and within budget, according to welfare reform minister Lord Freud.
The comments follow concerns expressed by the All-Party Parliamentary Taxation Group which has been monitoring HMRC's real-time information project.
HMRC's pilot for PAYE – pay as you earn – tax payments went live in April and Gauke said that he was confident the new system would reduce the bureaucratic burden on employers. A failure of the real-time information project would affect the plans for a new welfare system being pioneered by work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith.
However, cost estimates for the HMRC project have been increased, from £108m to £115m.
HMRC has adopted the ‘agile' approach to application development in a bid to keep the project manageable and, hopefully, to help deliver it on time. While central government is pushing agile development across the whole of the public sector, reports indicate that adoption has, in most cases, been superficial.
The universal credit project, meanwhile, remains on track for a pilot in April 2013, six months before it is fully rolled out in October 2013, according to Freud.
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