Ministers have bowed to pressure and are planning to further delay the roll out of the flagship welfare reform, universal credit. The system, which will merge six benefits into one payment, has been beset with problems. Leaked documents seen by the BBC reveal plans to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to prevent claimants suffering hardship as they move onto it - details will apparently be revealed in the Budget later this month. The system was supposed to be up and running by April 2017, but is now not expected to be fully operational until December 2023. The leaked papers predict that overall, the latest delay will add an additional nine months to the final deadline for full implementation.
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