Universal Credit: National Rollout — Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:11 pm on 28th October 2013.

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Photo of Lord McKenzie of Luton Lord McKenzie of Luton Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government) 3:11 pm, 28th October 2013

I thank the Minister for that Answer. Any confidence that we may have had in the Government’s ability to deliver universal credit was dramatically shaken by the NAO report last month. It concluded that the DWP was not achieving value for money and that there was,

“weak programme management, over-optimistic timescales, and a lack of openness about progress”.

Alarmingly, it stated that the department does not know to what extent its new IT systems will support national rollout. When will those systems be fit for purpose to support national rollout as well as enable detection of fraudulent claims? I also note that the department has written off £34 million-worth of abortive IT expenditure. How much more will be written off as abortive before the Government get their act together?