Guardian. 24th April.
Welfare Reform: Iain Duncan Smith Trumpets Success.
The architect of the controversial ‘bedroom tax’ has insisted low and middle earners have benefited from his welfare reforms.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith slashed millions from the welfare bill as the coalition government sought to balance the books.
But he claimed these savings, alongside the falling number of people claiming certain benefits, had allowed the coalition to introduce tax cuts for those on low pay.
From this month the tax-free personal allowance threshold on income tax increased to £10,600.
Speaking in Walsall, Mr Duncan Smith said: “What I have been doing now for a number of years is reforming welfare as a means to making more people better off.
“The reforms have not just saved tax payers money, including those on low and middle incomes, we have actually been able to give them tax cuts by raising the threshold on the personal allowance on income tax.
“We have been able to afford that because more people have got back into work as a result of our reforms.”
Mr Duncan Smith, who led the Conservatives for two years during Tony Blair’s New Labour government, was at Nova Training in Goscote where unemployed young people are taught skills to help them secure work.
Evidence of this success…
Fuel voucher for families who use prepayment meters will be available to those in crisis referred to food banks by welfare advice agencies, GPs and social workers.
Families in poverty who are forced to switch off their gas and electricity supply because they are unable afford spiralling energy bills will be offered free charity fuel vouchers under a pilot scheme. The so-called “fuel banks” initiative will provide a £49 credit for struggling families who use prepayment meters in a move designed to address the austerity-era dilemma of “heat or eat”. It is being run by energy firm nPower and poverty charities including the food bank network Trussell trust.
The vouchers, which will provide enough credit to restore power, and keep lights and heating on for up to two weeks, will be available to people in crisis referred to food banks by welfare advice agencies, GPs and social workers.