The Budget and Benefits | 12 years of expensive failure

Amongst all of this weeks budget announcements, one stood out to me – more sanctions to force people on benefits to take on more hours:

This is the familiar story of the benefit trap – people are better off on benefits and there is no incentive to seek work, in this case more work.

It is worth reminding ourselves that His Majesties Government has spent 12 years and billions on Universal Credits. The latest estimate of implementation costs alone is over £12bn.

The costs of UC weren’t just born by the tax payer – tens of thousands of families in the UK found themselves worse off to the point of poverty as a result of the introduction of UC. Even now food banks list UC as one of the main reasons why people need help.

The whole point of Universal Credits is that it got rid of the benefit trap. It was designed to ensure that everyone had an incentive to work as many hours as they could. This was the whole point.

Kwarteng’s announcement makes it very clear that Universal Credits has failed. The one thing that it was supposed to achieved doesn’t work. We spent billions, over a decade and caused measureless misery on a vanity project with no chance of success.

What is more tragic is that we knew a long time ago it didn’t work – the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee covered these expensive failures at length – I was interviewed as part of an early NAO investigation which led to the original UC scheme being scrapped an expensive IT development written off. I first wrote about these problems over 5 years ago.

At yet for over a decade successive Governments have clattered on with a programme that made lives worse, and cost billions.

Your taxpayers money. Your neighbours poverty.

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