Iain Duncan Smith ‘Takes Questions.”
Iain Duncan Smith takes viewers’ questions on welfare
Universal Credit and welfare reforms meant “millions will be better off”, promised the work and pensions secretary.
Iain Duncan Smith was defending changes, where critics have claimed the Universal Credit introduction was being pushed back, but he said he wanted to “roll it out carefully” so it worked properly, and it would be implemented in 2018.
The Conservative minister said it was “not a nasty vicious system”, as he was questioned about the critical reaction to welfare changes, including from the Roman Catholic church.
He spoke to Andrew Neil, who posed viewers’ questions, after they watched a Sunday Politics film about his changes
The Void comments,
“Bare-faced Lies, Bluff and Bullshit Are All Iain Duncan Smith Has Left As Millions Suffer.”
The list goes on and on. The Public Accounts Committee, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Office for National Statistics, the National Audit Office, the Archbishop of Westminster, even the Tory dominated Policy Exchange and coalition partners the Lib Dems, all of these people are wrong or lying said the increasingly bewildered Iain Duncan Smith in a rare appearance on the Sunday Politics this morning (starts at 13.20).
Watching A4E says,
There was a stand-out moment for me, and it wasn’t one of his factual inaccuracies. It was when he was asked about the criticisms of Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the leader of his own church. With the same supercilious expression that he’d worn throughout, IDS simply said, “He’s wrong.”
It’s important to remember what the Archbishop actually said. He didn’t criticise the “reforms” in principle. He deplored the fact that people were being left in destitution, left for weeks on end without any support, which he called a “disgrace”. His information, he said, came from the network of priests and charities in the poorest areas of the country. “There must be something wrong with the administration of a system which has that effect on so many people’s lives.” But IDS said, “He’s wrong.” And he added that he wished the Archbishop had called him before saying all this.
The arrogance is breath-taking. No doubt he would have told the man who is supposed to be in spiritual authority over him that all the reports from his priests and charities were ill-informed, that food banks were scaremongering, that the evidence of his own eyes and ears was an illusion. There is no way through to this man.
I’ve been around a long time, and involved in politics for much of that time. I lived through the Thatcher years, and loathed her as much as anyone. I got disillusioned with Blair. But this is something different. This is a government which has entrusted its dirty work to a man who has neither the intelligence nor the insight to understand the consequences of his actions, and who has surrounded himself with people similarly bereft of humanity. We have media which are either complicit or supine. And I have no idea what we can do about it.
Vox Political says,
Most of the information provided by the Work and Pensions Secretary wasn’t factually accurate, but at least Andrew Neil had the guts to ask some of the questions this blog did not expect from him.
Let’s be honest, though – he bottled the Big One. The Elephant in the Studio was the number of people who have died due to the Incapacity Benefit/ESA sanctions regime imposed by Iain Duncan Smith (never mind Labour’s early involvement; it’s a Tory baby now) and policed by Atos (although the firm has realised this is commercial suicide and is trying to get out of the contract).
One aspect of what he said that disturbed this writer was when the Secretary of State claimed Universal Credit would make it easier for people to take short-term work while they look for long-term jobs. He said the current system penalises people for doing this, and we can see from people’s recent experiences http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/sanctioned-for-working-and-being-honest-about-it/ that there is truth in it. But the nature of Universal Credit means that benefits are adjusted according to the amount people have earned; if someone does a day’s work and is paid even minimum wage for it, then the UC computers (if they ever work) will dock that amount from that person’s benefit – they will be no better-off. In fact, they may be worse-off, as there may be knock-on effects on other aspects of that person’s income. How is this making work pay?
Even the Tories on the Spectator say,
Iain Duncan Smith ties himself into universal knots over welfare reform
Will Universal Credit ever become universal and will the lowest paid still face an effective tax rate of a sometimes outrageous 76 per cent? Iain Duncan Smith took a grilling over his plans for welfare reform on the Sunday Politicstoday, but didn’t give a clear answer to either of these questions regarding his reforms.