When the history of this Coalition government is written a substantial chapter will no doubt be devoted to contrasting the vaulting ambitions of IDS’s welfare reform agenda with the incompetence and inhumanity of its implementation. Like some sort of inverted alchemist IDS has the ability to turn golden prospects into practices of base metal.
In his Times column on Friday Philip Collins offered a magisterial overview of welfare reform under the title Beware the march of IDS and his gothic folly. Collins likens Universal Credit (UC) – the centrepiece of IDS’s grand scheme – to the perma-delayed Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The completion date for the Church of the Holy Family has now been revised to 2028, having been started in 1883. The intricacies and expense of its construction continue to defeat successive generations. Whether UC will arrive any sooner than 2028 is by no means an idle question.
The proximate cause for this new outbreak of commentary on the manifold deficiencies of IDS and his reform agenda was the publication of the NAO’s second report on the progress of the UC project following the high profile, and unprecedented, project reset in 2013. [Read more…]