Universal credit targets defended by Iain Duncan Smith
- 09 Sep
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions came under fire regarding the failure to meet universal credit targets.
When asked about the effectiveness of the roll-out of universal credit Mr Duncan Smith said: “Universal credit is now available in more than half of jobcentres across Great Britain and will be available in all jobcentres early next year.Nearly 175,000 people have made a claim for universal credit so far. Our evidence shows that the universal credit claimants find work quicker, stay in work longer and earn more than the jobseeker’s allowance claimants,” reports 24dash.
Kate Hollern, Labour MP for Blackburn, expressed her surprise at the answer and responded: “The targets that the Minister set last October have been dramatically missed. Will he now accept that universal credit is a failed and expensive policy?”
Instead of answering the question properly and holding the policy to account, Mr Duncan Smith answered with: “It would be helpful if the hon. Lady listened to the answer that she was given rather than go with a Labour Whip’s handout. The Front-Bench team obviously worked very hard to ensure that she got her question in. In all the areas in which we have rolled out universal credit—in more than half of jobcentres—it is dramatically improving people’s lives.Unlike when the previous Government rolled out tax credit and hundreds of thousands of people lost their money, this scheme is ensuring that people who deserve the money and are ready for it are paid it.”
When questioned further about missing his 2017 target for universal credit by Labour MP Stephen Timms, Mr Duncan Smith replied: “I am on the verge of giving up speaking to the right hon. Gentleman, because he misuses all the facts. As I have told him again and again and again, he is more than welcome to visit the sites where it has been rolled out.
“Universal credit is already working; no one has lost any money; it will be online; and it will go out fully and start next year. This is a successful programme and if the right hon. Gentleman wants to compare notes about tax credit roll-outs, I would be more than happy to do that.”
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