Saturday, 30 March 2013

End of the Line in Ashton-under-Lyne?

Universal Credit: Duncan Smith's master plan is grinding to a halt ....

WHEN a government department sneaks out a press release the night before the start of the Easter weekend, it's a sure sign that it's trying to bury bad news. The news, in this instance, is that Universal Credit, Iain Duncan Smith's master plan to reform welfare, has all but ground to a halt. After previously planning to trial the scheme - which will replace six of the main benefits with a single payment - in four areas this April, the Department for Work and Pensions announced that it now would do so in just one: (Ashton-under-Lyne).

The New Statesman Blog reported yesterday:
'A single jobcentre, Ashton-under-Lyne, will accept claims for Universal Credit from 29 April, with the other three pilot areas, Wigan, Warrington and Oldham, not doing so until July. The national rollout is finally due to begin in October but ministers have yet to say when existing claimants will be moved over.'

George Eton, a journalist on the New Statesman, claimed that it was 'concerns over Universal Credit that prompted David Cameron to try and move Duncan Smith during last year's cabinet reshuffle' but Duncan Smith stubbornly resisted Cameron's efforts to remove him.  He may yet have cause to regret this.

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