Universal Credit will save less than 2% of the benefits bill despite Tory shake-up taking nine years and huge controversy! The Office for Budget Responsibility said the hugely controversial reform will shave just £1billion off annual costs by 2022
Universal Credit will save less than 2% of the total benefits bill despite taking nine years and sparking massive controversy, a watchdog has ruled.
The Office for Budget Responsibility said the reform will shave just £1billion off annual costs by 2022. Even this “small” saving could easily vanish because there is a “lack of reliable information”, the OBR warned. And the saving still relies on forcing “large costs” to be “concentrated within specific groups” of claimants, meaning they bear the burden of cuts.
It comes three years after ex-Chancellor George Osborne cruelly boasted he would slash £12bn from the welfare bill. Since then Universal Credit – which combines six payments but has been delayed seven times – has suffered a string of setbacks. Firstly ministers were forced to let working families keep 2p in the pound more of their benefits, amid fears they’d be left penniless – costing the government £700million a year. Then they announced £1.5billion of help after warnings the six-week wait for payment had sent people to foodbanks.
The OBR warned: “At first glance, the implications of UC for the public finances look modest.” Universal Credit is a “risk to public spending control”, compounded by a shortage of information, the OBR said. The watchdog added: “In several respects the monitoring and forecasting architecture for UC is less than ideal.
“Many elements are opaque, poorly integrated and take too long to produce robust results.”
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) insists Universal Credit is about simplifying the system and ensuring it always pays to be in work.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams said: “This report reveals the chaos of the Government’s flagship Universal Credit programme and the devastating impact Tory cuts to social security are having on the lives of millions of people.”
Despite the report, the DWP continued to insist today that Universal Credit will be “fair to taxpayers who fund it”. A spokeswoman added: “Universal Credit is about helping people improve their lives – and it’s working.
“People on Universal Credit are finding work faster than those on the old system, staying in it for longer, and keeping more of what they earn. And working parents can get up to 85% of their childcare costs back.” YEAH RIGHT!