There’s a certain logical dissonance from Aditya Chakrabortty here. He’s insistent that Universal Credit is an abomination, a terror, because it’s badly administered. And no doubt it is badly administered. But there are two further questions that need answers. The first being, well, what makes anyone think that the current cat’s cradle of welfare benefits are better administered? No one who tries to collect any of them, that’s for sure:
After years of ministers pretending otherwise, Amber Rudd, the DWP secretary, now admits universal credit’s introduction has left people so short of cash that they have resorted to food banks. What Iain Duncan Smith hailed in 2011 as a transformation of welfare has turned into something grotesque, with massive delays and huge flaws both of administration and design, repeatedly damned by MP select committees. The independent National Audit Office judges that universal credit has neither saved public money nor helped people into work. But it has left thousands of vulnerable claimants penniless, while others starve and even lose their homes. In a House of Commons debate last summer the London Labour MP Catherine West recounted how one of her constituents had “fallen off benefits” and ended up “sleeping in a tent in a bin chamber” on a housing estate.
OK. Government’s not very good at doing things.
So, Mr Chakrabortty – and others who share the same delusions – why is it that you want government to be doing so much more? Why do you want these same people who cannot hand out free money running the electricity system, the railways, the water works?
Don’t forget that if your argument is that she’ll be right if only the correct people are in charge at the top then you’ve just defended CEO pay.