Speaking in the House of Lords, Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud described the write-off of a failed £40 million IT system as “deeply regrettable”.

He also insisted that the decision to “reorganise” Universal Credit, which led to the government’s flagship welfare reform being ‘reset’, was taken by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP.

Lord Freud told peers:

“We all know that, when you have a £2.5 billion programme with a high IT content, there are elements that you write that you do not need.

“In the private sector that can be a third of a programme. Clearly, any write-off is always deeply regrettable, but one has to put those things into a context.

“We remain within our budget of £2.5 billion — not £12 billion — and we are looking at an overall net benefit of £35 billion from this programme. The NAO (National Audit Office) has said that it is taking a regular interest in the programme; we will continue and will see more reports on it from the NAO.

“However, as regards the way in which we are doing it, it is somewhat misleading to think of this as a twin-track system, because we have a single plan for universal credit.

“We are finding what works through the rollout we have; it may be small, but you do not need huge numbers to find out what works. It is important that we do this testing.

“At the heart of the programme is what we call the “test and learn” process, in which we take what is happening and assess and measure it against other things, aiming to find out how it works. That informs what we call the end-state build, which is thoroughly under way and is in agile.

“The first Warrington programme was trying to be agile, which I think is the best way; this end-state solution — the fully digital one, the interactive digital one — is being done on an agile basis.

Lord Freud also commented on Universal Credit being classed as ‘reset’ by the Major Projects Authority:

“What does reset mean? What happened, as noble Lords will remember, is that Ministers, the Secretary of State in particular, took a decision that the programme was not going properly and took a view to stop it and reorganise it — reset it.

“It is not a new category; it is a description of a process. If one is in charge of a programme, rather than blundering on with it regardless, I would hope noble Lords would agree that it is the job of the Ministers in charge to take that kind of decision, work out how to rebase it — reset it — and make sure it is done safely and securely, which is what we are aiming to do. That is everything that we are doing.”



  1. More outright lies,these people couldn't give a hoot about loss of moneys because it's Monopoly cash to them because It comes from we,this unelected sham of thieves and fraudsters parading as a Government must be stopped they do not hold a single thought for the unemployed or working poor,You do not count and are a non entity If you are not contributing your money.Fact Is there's little if any difference between the parties they really should have a more realistic title I mean after all at least Dick Turpin hid his face when he robbed you,so yeah about that title"Robbers PLC…

  2. In other words: "We don't have a clue what we're doing, and so what if we piss millions and millions of pounds up against the wall – it's not our money and there's always plenty more where that came from. So long as it doesn't get into the hands of those terrible, terrible plebs."

  3. "Well, you know, ooops. Stuff happens and who knows why? Maybe it's just bad luck or maybe there's a way we can blame Labour for it which we haven't thought of yet? In the meantime, let's just keep up the class war against the poor and sponsor even more "reality" programmes about benefit cheats. That always distracts the plebs."

  4. Deeply regrettable – the sort of sentiment one might attach to missing Eastenders or not winning the lottery again. Man has such a way with words, WANKER.

  5. "in the private sector that can be a third of a programme"

    Maybe when GOV IT is contracted out to the private sector, but everywhere I've worked the write down on software only comes about when new stuff is implemented and years old code is ditched and more often than not new code only compliments old code, or replaces it purely because adding new functionality to old code is more expensive than using the latest "template" as a drop in replacement.

    In UC's case, nothing should have been scrapped as it was all new code so should have been fit for purpose from the get go but the program was ill conceived, badly designed, using a method of development that was not suited to such a "big bang" project, due to IDS not knowing a thing about anything and believing if he said it was "on schedule, on budget, and will hit its targets" without knowing feck all about it and obviously never being in any kind of meeting related to it and giving out such a "if it doesn't work its your fault, you plebs, I BELIEVE; all hail hydra" method of project management while lying through his teeth to all and sundry… well what can anyone expect from a failed Con leader, a fake CV, a fake end rank, and fake expenses claiming "betsygate" scandal… seriously I wouldn't put him in charge of picking up litter as he'd probably fcuk that up as well.

  6. The whole lot of them should have been sacked – especially IDS, who has wasted BILLIONS on this failed scheme. They could not give a damn about their own British poor, unemployed, sick and disabled. This is why there has not be as much as a hoot from the opposition [ who are cut from the same cloth]. Milliband's silence on this is DEAFENING!

    The truth is, whoever we vote for it will be more of the same, as Labour promises to continue on with austerity against the poor. Because of this, they have already lost my vote. And, if I and many other people have to split the vote by voting for the Greens, then so be it.

    Both the Coalition and Labour are an absolute disgrace, as they battle against each other to see who can bring out the worst policies against their own poor. They have played and are playing with peoples lives here, but they couldn't give a damn.

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