Labour has hit out at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) claiming that its flagship IT project, Universal Credit, is in “chaos”.
The BBC reports that shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne still backs the welfare reform scheme “in principle”, but has made claims that the “implementation is a disaster”, with extra costs likely to reach £300 million by 2016-17.
DWP has dismissed the claims and said that Universal Credit is on track.
However, it was recently revealed the DWP’s £2 billion Universal Credit programme, which will merge benefits such as jobseeker’s allowance, income support, child tax credit, and working credit, is only being classed as ‘viable’ and the department is calling in the Government Digital Service to advise on building an ‘enhanced IT solution’.
The likes of Accenture, HP and IBM are contracted to build and roll out the system across the country.
Byrne has written to DWP and called for cross-party talks “to see exactly how bad things are” with Universal Credit and “what’s needed to fix them”.
Current work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has rejected Labour’s claims and said that Byrne’s comments are a “last ditch attempt” to keep his job in the shadow cabinet.