PCS accuses Work and Pensions Secretary of failing in his job

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, PCS,

IDSPCS has accused Iain Duncan Smith of failing in his job, saying how the Work and Pensions Secretary is still in a job is a political mystery that will confound pundits for generations to come.

The union says his flagship universal credit policy has been a “textbook case of his disastrous time in office” because despite government plans to have about 4 million people claiming universal credit by May this year, official figures show the caseload is only 1.5% of this, at 65,000.

The project has been beset by soaring costs, wasted money, poor IT, low staff morale and industrial action and has been the subject of scathing assessments from the National Audit Office and the government’s own Major Projects Authority.

The union says that while it broadly supports the aim of trying to simplify the benefits system, it believes that in common with other measures to lower the welfare bill, such as the benefits cap and bedroom tax, the impulse behind universal credit has been ideology rather than practical policy-making.

The union is also challenging ministers over the double-hit for public servants of the 1% public sector pay cap and cuts to working tax credits.

General secretary Mark Serwotka said: “How Iain Duncan Smith, who was fundamentally failed in his job, has remained in his post is a political mystery that will confound pundits for generations to come.

“Universal credit has been a textbook case of how not to overhaul public services and his cruel cuts to social security support for unemployed, sick and disabled people bring shame on the UK as a civilised nation.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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