Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said he will introduce more stringent cuts to UK benefits as he brags about reducing the country’s unemployment rate by 1.3%.
Mr. Duncan Smith is expected to give an extensive speech on how his controversial actions have helped reduce UK unemployment from 7.8% a year ago to 6.5%, as he battles with No. 10 over Tory benefit policies in their upcoming election manifesto.
According to the cabinet minister, his introduction of more stringent medical checks for disability benefit and capping certain benefits are just some of the new policies that have helped to slash the country’s unemployment rate and get more people off benefits.[quote]When we took office, there were nearly five million people on out-of-work benefits. It was clear to me that in large part this situation was the product of a dysfunctional welfare system that often trapped those it was supposed to help in cycles of worklessness and dependency,”[/quote]
he is expected to say in his speech.[quote]My one aim as Work and Pensions Secretary has been to change this culture, and everything we have done – every programme we have introduced – has been about supporting everyone who is able to into work.”[/quote]
Mr. Duncan Smith claims he intends to implement more similar changes to the welfare system, including a two-children cap on child benefit and a lower overall benefit cap.
Smith’s plans come shortly after sources from Whitehall said that benefit policies will form a key part of the Conservative party’s upcoming Election manifesto. He plans to reduce the cap from the current £26,000 to £18,000 to make it “more in line” with the average take-home salary.
The Work and Pensions Secretary is rumoured to be locked in a ‘behind-the-scenes’ battle with No.10, after he refused David Cameron’s attempts to move him from his role during last month’s cabinet reshuffle.
Smith argued he wanted to stay in his current job so he could “finish the job” that he had been put in place to do.
Despite his claims, other ministers have dismissed the idea that benefit spending is decreasing and employment is rising.
Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, said:[quote]Under Iain Duncan Smith, housing benefit spending is rising, not falling. The number of working people claiming housing benefit is set to double between 2010 and 2018, costing every British household £488.
David Cameron’s government has failed to control social security spending and is set to overspend on welfare by a staggering £13 billion. The government’s flagship welfare reforms are in chaos.”[/quote]