Iain Duncan Smith’s Question Time lies exposed

Get your jobs here: They won’t pay, they won’t last, and you’ll probably be signing on again within six months.

I bet Iain Duncan Smith was praying nobody would produce any statistics disproving his rant at Owen Jones during the BBC’s Question Time last week.

Some of us were praying for the opposite, and it turns out that our God is quicker than his.

I know the new report released today (Monday) by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, showing that more working people are living in poverty, will be just another document that the UK government will blithely ignore.

But some of its findings bite deeply into Department for Work and Pensions policy, and the claims of the man who runs that department.

For starters, in 2012, 18 per cent of working-age households were workless, but in only two per cent of households had nobody ever worked. More than half of adults in ‘never-worked’ households were under 25.

Therefore, when Iain Duncan Smith told Owen Jones on Question Time last week, “I didn’t hear you screaming about two and a half million people who were parked, nobody saw them, for over 10 years, not working, no hope, no aspiration,” he was spouting false information. Two per cent of the population is not two and a half million people, and under-25s cannot have been unemployed for more than 10 years.

The report, Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2012, makes it clear that the proportion of ‘never-worked’ households has increased recently – most particularly since the current government came into power? – and is most likely a manifestation of high and rising young adult unemployment rather than a fixed number of people “parked” on the dole.

We all know that a million young people aged 16-24 were unemployed in the first half of 2012.

There is a weakness in how the Government has assessed the impact of welfare changes, by looking at them individually rather than as a whole, the report states. The Department for Work and Pensions’ impact assessments show that some benefit changes will produce large cuts for tens of thousands (such as the total benefit cap for workless households), and some will produce small cuts for hundreds of thousands (for example lowering the amount of local housing allowance claimable). But some households, mostly already in low income, will be hit more than once through cuts to both housing-related and non-housing, income-related benefits.

One reform is to replace Disability Living Allowance (designed to meet the actual costs of living with a disability) with the Personal Independence Payment, cutting the caseload by 20 per cent. But disabled people are more likely to be workless, so may have other benefits cut as well.

Government ministers have spent months telling us that their benefit reforms mean work will always pay; but the report makes one thing perfectly clear: It doesn’t. More than half of children and working-age adults in poverty live in a working household.

So what are they achieving by depressing benefit payments, other than condemning those who rely on state payments, who have paid into state systems throughout their working lives, and who have reason to expect those systems to support them during hardship, to destitution, health risks and possibly death (for reasons explored in other articles on this blog)?

Not a lot.

“The ‘low-pay, no-pay’ jobs market keeps millions in poverty and holds the economy back,” states the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report. “Work should always be a route out of poverty but it is not. Changing the benefits system will not solve problems such as in-work poverty, increasing underemployment and rising health inequalities.”

It states that 6.1 million working households are in poverty, so in-work poverty now exceeds workless poverty, which stands at 5.1 million households. That’s 11.2 million households – family groups – earning below 60 per cent of average income. Could that mean maybe a third of the total population is in poverty, due to current government policies?

The proportion of working age adults without children in poverty has risen steadily, from seven per cent in 1981 to 20 per cent in 2010/11. The number of working-age adults in low-income, in-work households has also increased. As pensioner poverty is now at low levels, the rate of in-work poverty is the most distinctive characteristic of poverty today.

Of those in work, 6.4 million lack the work they want. There are 1.4 million part-time workers who actually want full-time work. This is the highest figure in 20 years. You won’t hear a government representative talking about this when they trumpet their latest employment figures, and it’s always up to the news organisations to sift out how many jobs are part-time.

Only 18 per cent of people are said to be in low income at any one time – but an entire third of the population experience at least one period of low income within any four-year period; 11 per cent are in low income for more than half of that time.

Poverty is no longer concentrated in the social rented sector – people who bought their houses, thinking their wages would be able to support this, have been proved wrong as salaries have tumbled.

The number of underemployed people in the first half of 2012 was 6.4 million, comprising unemployed people (2.6 million); economically inactive people who want work (2.4 million); and people working part-time because they cannot find full-time work (1.4 million).   Underemployment increased since 2009 due to a rise of 500,000 in the number of people working part-time but wanting full-time work.

Most jobs are short-term now; around 42 per cent of Jobseekers’ Allowance claims from the first quarter of 2012 were made within six months of a previous claim.

Unemployment has remained static in the last three years – despite government claims – because employees have been willing to take fewer hours. This means they have accepted less work, and therefore less pay, in order to keep their jobs. How does the government reconcile that with its claim that it is making work pay?

Real people, experiencing these real deprivations, have a different view. As Jane Walters commented on a different article in this blog: “Employers … are making huge profits out of paying people less wages than they need to live on.”

Oh, and even though the disabled are more likely to be out of work than able-bodied people, more disabled people were in work than in the past. Considering the way the government has painted the disabled as workshy scroungers since it came into office, I believe the appropriate expression is “That’s really p*ssed on Iain Duncan Smith’s chips”.

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29 thoughts on “Iain Duncan Smith’s Question Time lies exposed

    1. Mike Sivier

      I wish I could blow the lid. Trouble is, this is only a small blog, read by only a few thousand at the most. These things need mass media – by which I mean television – exposure and there seems to be a blackout. Strangely enough, no television executives ever come down here to tell us why that is.

      1. Stephen Kelly L35 4NQ

        One of my FB friends is Sonia Poulton. As well as a Daily Mail Online writer (I know it’s the Daily Mail but they aren’t all Tories) she is disability rights campaigner. If you don’t know her I’ll send your article to her. She dos have contacts so could help.

  1. Penelope Twining

    IDS should just stay away from cans of worms – he can’t stop himself from ripping the lids off. Blessed are the Chocolate purveyors…..

  2. The Depressed Moose

    IDS is my local MP im in the process of arranging a meeting with him at a surgery about universal credits…. not holding out much hope though but at least have had a reply from his office 😀

  3. Sue Marsh

    Very good.

    I think when IDS refers to the 2.5 million people who were parked….etc, this is a phrase he uses about Incapacity benefit claimants, so probably not the JSA unemployed.

    Even so, very helpful to have the other myths pulled apart.

    1. The Infamous Culex

      Correct – he did mean IB claimants and recipients of other benefits. He was still egregiously inaccurate, though.

      Herr Schimdt, Reichsfuhrer DWP, said: “We’ve heard a lot from you. I didn’t hear you screaming about two and a half million people who were parked, nobody saw them, for over 10 years, not working, no hope, no aspiration. We are changing their lives; I’m proud of doing that. Getting them off-benefit is what we’re going to do.”

      He was, of course, inaccurate and arrogant. There had not been 2.5 million people “parked” on IB for ten years, as that would mean no new claims had been accepted for a decade and none of the claimants had died in that time; his assertion is, therefore, utterly absurd.

      Then there was his remark that “nobody saw them”. Unless he meant that claimants were issued with a free invisibility cloak, he might perhaps mean that no medical practitioner saw them in that time. Well, perhaps the claimants’ own GPs and/or specialists might have done but, to Herr Schmidt, such doctors are not impartial as they are ‘too close’ to their patients. How, then, would Herr Schmidt explain how a claimant of my acquaintance was called in for two medical assessments in the six years between 2003 and 2009? The first was conducted by a retired GP working for Sema Healthcare; the latter was conducted by someone working for Atos Origin.

      Unless Herr Schmidt can cure people, their lives off benefit are certain to be without hopes or aspirations other than, perhaps, for a painless death. Will he be proud of THAT?

      1. definatelycharlie

        IDS meant IB claiments, though he didn’t say so, and pretending that 2.5m have been on the benefit for 10 years or so when the real figure is about 1m (I think).

        The government likes to insinuate that none of the million in question have long-term illnesses, or are permenantly disabled, because this is only a “sickness” benefit !
        People get sick then they get well again ,you see.
        It’s quite a clever line.

        Many wont realise that all disabled people, who need benefit to help them survive, will at least also try to claim sickness benefits.

  4. stuartcharles

    The erstwhile Conservative M.P.s of which there are many will fail to see another term in office due to the PPP ( Piss Poor Performance ) of current Ministerial liars.

  5. Mike Sivier

    Stephen Kelly: I’m familiar with Sonia. We’ve discussed a few things on Twitter. I agree with you about the Daily Mail although I think she might be the exception that proves the rule!

  6. The Drug Sniffing Dog

    I’d love to meet him. I’d look past him with a disappointed expression on my face and ask “oh, which one are you, Iain or Duncan? ‘Cos I really can’t believe so much malevolence can emanate from just one supposedly Christian man”

    1. The Infamous Culex

      I’d like to ask him when he last made a contrite confession of his sins – he is supposedly a Papist – and why he wasn’t required to recite prayers all day and every day for a month.

  7. Jacko

    As i have said on many ocasions IDS his a liyer that gets off on seeing people suffer. He isthe one person i would like to see brought to book.

  8. Susan Caraccio

    I would like him to live on the £71 a week I get in JSA – after working solidly since I was 16 I am now unemployed – due to his government cutting my job in the public sector – and nobody in the private sector seems to want somebody of 55 who is reliable, knows their way round complex IT systems, can type very fast, and can speak and write ‘The Queen’s English’.

    As for IDS, I always get an urge to crack an egg on his skull.

  9. Kazz

    Mr Iain Duncan Smith did not go to University so i think thats why he lacks the ability of mathematics and thats probably why he can’t add up?

    At least Mr Owen Jones went to Oxford University and lets be honest he was the one that talked the most sense on Question Time?

  10. Alan

    IDS said:
    “We are changing their lives; I’m proud of doing that. Getting them off-benefit is what we’re going to do.”
    That is exactly what they are doing, getting them off benefits by simply stopping their benefits and forcing them into worse poverty with no available jobs and no other income. Way to go IDS and all your buddies who don’t live in the real world.

  11. andrew breckill

    A politician lying??? are you sure??? good god people!!! don’t forget the ridiculous spending of borrowed money by Gordon Brown and his presbyterian moral compass, of which too much was defrauded by self employed people under declaring income, two adult families claiming to be single adult families, or families having 5+ children to have a larger slice of the benefits pie, paying thousands of pounds in rent a week for unemployed families with no intention of working to live in London (wish I could afford to). Now to be clear, I am not a conservative (a more uninspiring bunch of people/ideas I have yet to come across) and now those chickens financial are home to roost. So quit whinging and deal with it. The rowntree foundation make me laugh, they bandy about percentages of this, that and the other, do they not realise that there will by there own definition always be ‘poverty’ as their statistics guarantee it. In this country poverty is not caused by fiscal lack but by education and aspirations or the lack therewith. Tackle that and you’ll tackle poverty.

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