Has the Universal Credit scheme already failed?

At the same time as a stream of reassurances has been issuing from Ministers, the DWP and the project team, The Guardian is reporting that the project to implement Universal Credit has stalled, and that staff have been stood down. They cannot all be right. Although personally I lean towards a glum outlook, the government could still save its face without too much effort. Universal Credit has not really been designed as a unified system – it sticks together a number of existing benefits, most of which already have common rules and structures. So it has always been open to the Government to say, here is Universal Credit (Jobseekers Allowance), Universal Credit (Employment and Support Allowance) and so on, claiming to have introduced an integrated system when all they have really done is to rename the benefits. True, that would not give us an integrated system, responding to millions of people individually in real time – but the idea it could was always a fantasy.

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