New benefits website at risk of hackers, no Plan B - ministers
Fraud, downtime, data loss, anything could happen!
Fraud and identity theft are serious problems threatening Universal Credit, Blighty's soon-to-be-launched web-based benefits system, ministers said yesterday.
Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and welfare reform minister Lord Freud were grilled by the Work and Pensions Select Committee over the new programme, designed to take over and merge separate public-funded payouts such as jobseeker's allowance and housing benefits.
Lord Freud admitted that he saw online security as a risk and worried about being able to prove people's identities online to stop benefit fraud.
"I’ll say what the challenges are, what we need to get right to get the security system working properly," said the great grandson of Sigmund Freud.
Former Tory leader Duncan Smith said that the government would also have to ensure that the new system was always online: "We must always be ready for the moment we need to pay people the money."
The ministers said the project, now in the final stages of development, was adopting security systems used by banks, and the team behind it was in talks with internet companies including Amazon for advice on how to keep availability high.
But they also said that programmers still hadn't tested the bridge that is supposed to link data from HMRC and the Department of Work and Pensions.
"We're testing that bridge, the mechanics of the bridge with dummy data, and we will be getting live feeds for our trial in April," Lord Freud said, adding that there was no need for a Plan B in case the bridge didn't work - because he has a "comfort level" about it sorting itself out.
Like most major reforms to government policy, the Universal Credit system is facing an all-round backlash: Treasury officials questioned whether it can stick to its implementation timetable, charities and interest groups claimed the system will leave Brits out of pocket, and Labour lambasted the project. ®
Re: No plan B? Seriously?
I'm tired of people taking money from taxpayers and whining all the time about how hard they supposedly have it. You don't have to work for your money. You don't have to lift a finger for it so you don't have any right to say how it should be paid or even if it should be paid.
I truly hope you're never condemned to live a life of someone forced onto disability benefits. It generally means you're in pain all the time, or physically damaged. Whatever the case, its not a life you would have chosen.
As a society, we have decided to treat people who can't support themselves with respect, and to support them. Personally, I agree with this decision. The results are not perfect, and the methods are sometimes imperfect too, but they are much better than the alternative.
We live in a democracy, not a plutocracy. Those who pay taxes do not have the only say over what happens with the money.
So, sorry dude, you got it wrong.
The current system is a poverty trap and has been for years.
Growing up, I saw it in action with my family, and others around.
The issue is that, with payments being made separately for different things, they are all calculated separately too.
If you earn £1 above threshold, that will be deducted from the benefits.. from each benefit in many cases; this leaves you worse off than if you had not earned that money.
There is an area between full benefits, and full work, where you are worse off than in either. Crossing that barrier is hard, and acts to trap people in the benefits system for years on end. You can't slowly increase your earnings to get out of the system, you have to leap, or stay where you are.
This new system may well fall over, but something has to be done, as the consequences of the current system are awful too.
Re: I am glowing with confidence
So, you have dependents?
Please fill in forms MFOOMB13/8 to MFOOMB13/675 in black ink and return them as soon as possible. MFOOMB is a means tested benefit, you must declare all income so we can ensure none of you get enough to live on.