Iain Duncan Smith is no longer saying that Universal Credit will be completed on time, but he is still saying that it will be within budget. In an interview on the Today programme, he also said more than once that he expects six and a half million people to be on UC by 2017, excluding only 700,000 people on the ESA support group who will be deal with only later. He repeated those figures more than once.
That, by my reckoning, adds up to 7.2 million people. The previous estimates from the DWP, however, added up to 8.3 million recipients, consisting of 3.1m winners, 2.4m people with no change in entitlement, and 2.8 million losers before cash protection. The figures can be reconciled if 1.1m people lose benefits altogether – but if they do, it wasn’t what was being said before. So the simple question is this: is IDS planning to stop more than a million people from claiming benefit?