Universal Credit business case to be signed off 'very shortly', says Iain Duncan Smith

By Sooraj Shah
02 Sep 2014 View Comments

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, is insisting that the business case for the troubled Universal Credit programme is expected "very shortly".

Duncan Smith, who is behind the controversial programme, has maintained throughout the project that the programme will be "on budget" and be "on track", despite constant delays and MPs insisting that the project will write off at least £140m.

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In December, he announced that HM Treasury had approved funding for the programme in 2013-12 and 2014-15. According to the DWP secretary, the final stage is a sign-off of the full business case, which covers the full lifetime of the programme.

During a debate in the House of Commons yesterday, opposition MPs laid into Duncan Smith.

Labour MP Nick Brown said that the answer of "very shortly" was also given two months ago, but that it was taking rather longer than Duncan Smith intended.

In response, Duncan Smith said that the final point relates to the full lifetime of the programme "which will take it all the way through, probably beyond all the years that anybody present will be in government".

Labour MP Chris Bryant, shadow minister for welfare reform, suggested that the programme is "the Secretary of State's pet project" which is "being kept on a life-support system", and questioned why two months had passed without the business case being approved.

In December, the department had reportedly spent £425m of its £2bn budget for the programme. 

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