A patter has now been established with this government. Over NHS reform, very late in the day, someone in Number 10 saw disaster looming.
The same happened with IDS’ Universal Credit. The Bill was passed in Parliament earlier this year and a timetable set for its implementation — and then one of the PM’s aides noticed that the whole scheme was dependent on a massive new IT scheme working.
Governments rarely commission IT schemes that work. Apart from pension credit, which was grafted onto the old pensioner income support scheme, no major IT scheme has done anything but cause serious trouble.
The Child Support Agency has three different schemes. Despite spending well over £1bn the Border Agency finds it difficult to count anybody in or out of the country.
Now, again, an adviser has realised that the government’s scheme for £140 flat rate pension will ensure many pensioners, who have already earned higher pensions, will lose out.
All these points were made to the government at the start of the debate. Only now has somebody in Number 10 actually listened. It is hardly a recipe to run a whelk store, let alone a government.
The Evening Standard, 19 September 2012