Here’s a sentence to set alarm bells ringing: the Department for Work and Pensions is currently undertaking a rather large and important IT project to change the way people can claim benefits.
As part of the project to roll up all the various benefits and tax credits people receive into one “Universal Credit”, DWP is creating a new system that would allow people to log in online, fill in some basic details and quickly calculate how much they can claim. The money will then be paid automatically into their bank account. Read more
We revealed this morning that Chris Huhne is poised to make steep cuts to the subsidies for household solar panels. This is likely to be very controversial given that this summer the government cut the subsidies (feed-in tariff) for largescale solar “farms”. Details are still being worked out but I wouldn’t be surprised if the current scheme – up to 43p per kilowatt hour – is cut in half or worse; possibly by January. Huhne was asked about the story in the Commons this morning and did not deny it.
This is going to play into the narrative that the coalition’s green credentials are fading fast, as we write in this analysis today – despite headline initiatives such as the Green Investment Bank. Several MPs criticised Huhne today for the collapse of Scotland’s pioneering “carbon capture and storage” project, with Labour’s Lindsay Roy saying it had “descended into farce” and SNP’s Mike Weir calling it “disgraceful“. Read more