The Department of Work and Pensions has axed a computer system being developed to process benefits payments after spending more than £140m on it in three years.
The news comes just two months after ministers announced that the DWP’s crisis-ridden Child Support Agency would be closed down, following the collapse of its £456m IT system.
The Benefits Processing Replacement Programme was originally designed to bring together and streamline the processing of a range of different benefits.
But it is understood that there were questions over how this would be done, before the announcement of a new Employment Support Allowance in January led to a change of priorities.
The programme had been expected to save £60m, but cost £141m in the three years since it was begun, the BBC’s Today programme revealed. The system was axed in February without ever being put into use.
A spokesman for the DWP said, “In line with best practice and in the light of concerns about the progress of this programme, BPRP was recently reviewed.
“As a result, the programme has been refocused to concentrate on the delivery of the new Employment Support Allowance announced in January of this year.”
He added, “The previous programme has now been formally closed, although a number of individual projects within it are being taken forward.”
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