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Universal credit has been savaged by MPs for "shocking" failures that have already wasted at least £140m. The scheme has been blighted by "alarmingly weak" management, with secretaries allowed to authorise purchase orders worth more than £20m. In some cases it is unclear what suppliers have been paid for. The cross-party Public Accounts Committee (PAC) also voiced doubts about whether the project can still be fully delivered by 2017 - branding a pilot "inadequate" and open to fraud. Universal credit is due to replace a bundle of means-tested benefits in four years' time, with Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith insisting it can ensure people are always better off in jobs and save £38bn by 2023. However, a former Olympics executive had to be drafted in earlier this year to "reset" the programme amid concerns over delays and IT issues. http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/universal-credit-scheme-lost-over-041726658.html