David Gauke, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has denied that the introduction of Universal Credit is causing hardship. He said: “I strongly believe we have got a really good policy with this that will transform lives, but there is almost a sort of knee-jerk criticism and a temptation in particular with universal credit that you can almost say anything critical about it and it goes without challenge.”
That’s alright, then. Just the same as when Iain Duncan Smith repeatedly claimed that Universal Credit would be delivered “on time and within budget”. The massive overspend, the wasted millions on a failed IT system, and the massive overrun on its delivery must be Fake News.
And what about the hardship being caused to those claiming Universal Credit. Fake News, Fake News, Fake News. It just goes without challenge.
What about the excellent and well-researched article by Heather Spurr, once with Inside Housing and now with Shelter.
And what about this item by the Resolution Foundation, or this from the Institute for Government, or this from Citizens Advice, or BHT’s own research following the roll out of Universal Credit in Hastings.
I know I have had a word or two to say about Universal Credit, such as the blog post entitled “Universal Credit is a disgrace, and those who have advocated it and continue to defend it should hang their heads in shame” or this one “Another day, another report on the disaster that is Universal Credit” or this one “More evidence of the disaster zone that is known as Universal Credit” or this “Should the roll out of Universal Credit continue at this time? Watch the evidence to Parliament’s Work and Pensions Committee”.
Noi doubt it is all Fake News that has gone without challenge.
The problem, Mr Gauke, is not that criticism goes unchallenged. The problem, in the words of the former Conservative Prime Minister, John Major, is that Universal Credit is “operationally messy, socially unfair and unforgiving” (see here).
The problem, Mr Gauke, is that you, Mr Duncan Smith, the DWP and the government as a whole carry on regardless, in spite of the evidence. The most modest reforms imaginable announced in the autumn won’t resolve the fundamental flaws inherent in Universal Credit. A lick of paint would not have saved the Titanic after it brushed up against an iceberg.
Universal Credit has become Mrs May’s poll tax. (I vlogged on this recently). No matter how well Mr Gauke defends the indefensible, Universal Credit remains flawed, it remains operationally messy, it remains socially unfair, and it remains unforgiving.