This benefits bully harasses the powerless but runs away from criticism

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Several months ago this blog accused Iain Duncan Smith of being a liar and a coward because, not only had he fabricated statistics on the number of people leaving benefits because of his new benefit cap, but he had also weaseled his way out of an appearance before the Commons Work and Pensions Committee to account for this behaviour.

The very next day, we had to apologise (to readers) and publish a correction saying that the man we call ‘Returned To Unit’ would be attending a follow-up meeting in September, at which the 100,000-signature petition calling him to account for the benefit cap lies, organised by Jayne Linney and Debbie Sayers, would also be presented to MPs.

Apparently the meeting was being timed to coincide with publication of the DWP’s annual report for 2012-13.

Now it is November, and we have still had no meeting with RTU. Nor have we seen the annual report, which is now almost eight months late. Meanwhile the calamities at the DWP have been mounting up.

The latest appears in a Guardian report published yesterday, about the ongoing disaster that is Universal Credit. You may remember, Dear Reader, that the Department for Work and Pensions has admitted it had to write off £34 million that had been spent on the scheme; it subsequently emerged that the total amount to be written off might actually be as high as £161 million.

The Guardian article appears to confirm this, adding £120 million to the £34 already written off if the DWP follows one of two possible plans to take the nightmarish scheme forward.

This would restart Universal Credit from scratch, creating a system based on the Internet – and reducing the need for Job Centre staff – and tends to confirm the suggestion that staff are seen as a liability in the government’s plan to cut back on benefit payments; despite being told to bully, harass and intimidate everyone who darkens their doors, they have an annoying inclination to help people claim the benefits due to them.

The other plan would attempt to salvage the existing system, and is understood to be favoured by the Secretary-in-a-State. The drawback is that it could lead to an even greater waste of taxpayers’ money (not that this has ever been a consideration for Mr… Smith in the past. He’ll waste millions like water while depriving people of the pennies they need to survive).

Universal Credit aims to merge six major benefits and tax credits into one, restricting eligibility for the new benefit in order to cut down on payouts. It relies on the government creating a computer programme that can synchronise systems run by HM Revenue and Customs, the DWP itself, and employers. So far, this has proved impossible and a planned rollout in April was restricted to just one Job Centre, where staff handled only the simplest claims and worked them out on paper. Later revelations showed that the system as currently devised has no way of weeding out fraudulent claims.

A leaked risk assessment says the web-based scheme is “unproven… at this scale”, and that it would not be possible to roll out the new system “within the preferred timescale”. Smith has continually maintained that it will be delivered on time and on budget but, as concerns continue to be raised by senior civil servants that systems are not working as expected and there are too many design flaws, it seems likely this is a career-ending claim.

Is this why he hasn’t deigned to account for himself before the Work and Pensions Committee?

Earlier this week, the government lost its appeal against a court ruling that its regulations for Workfare and other mandatory work activity schemes were illegal. Public Interest Lawyers, who handled the case against the government, has taken the view that anyone who fell foul of the regulations may now take action to get their money back. But the matter is complicated by the fact that the government unwisely passed a retrospective law to legalise the rules, in a bid to stop the 228,000 benefit claimants it had sanctioned after they refused to work for their benefits from demanding the money that ministers had – in effect – stolen from them. Iain Duncan Smith is the man behind this mess.

Is this why he hasn’t deigned to account for himself before the committee?

We have yet to learn why this man felt justified in claiming 8,000 – and then 12,000 – people had left benefits because of the £26,000 cap he introduced in April (he claimed it is equal to average family income but in fact it is £5,000 and change short of that amount as he failed to consider benefits that such families could draw). Information from polling company Ipsos Mori showed that the real number of people who had dropped their claims after hearing of the scheme was more likely to be 450 – just nine per cent of the figure he originally quoted.

Is this why he hasn’t put a meeting with the committee in his diary?

Perhaps we should not be surprised, though – it seems that RTU has never had a decent grip on the way his department works. For example, he allowed George Osborne to cancel Disability Living Allowance for one-fifth of claimants in 2010, claiming that the benefit had been “spiralling” out of control because it had 3.1 million claimants – triple the number since it was introduced in 1992. Smith said the rise was “inexplicable” but in fact the explanation is simplicity itself, as The Guardian‘s Polly Toynbee pointed out just two days ago:

“DLA is only paid to those of working age, but when they retire they keep it, so as more people since 1992 move into retirement, numbers rise fast. There has been no change in numbers with physical conditions, despite a larger population; back injuries have declined with the decline of heavy industry. There has been a real growth in numbers with learning disabilities: more premature babies survive but with disabilities, while those with Down’s syndrome no longer die young. More people with mental illness claim DLA now, following changes in case law: there has been no increase in mental illness, with 7% of the population seriously ill enough to be receiving treatment, yet only 1% claim DLA. Psychosis is the commonest DLA diagnosis, hardly a trivial condition. This pattern of disability mirrors the rest of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, with nothing exceptional here.”

In other words, from the moment he took over this hugely important government department, with its huge – and controversial – budget, Iain Duncan Smith had about as much understanding of its workings as a child.

It seems Sir John Major was exactly right when he expressed fears about the DWP Secretary’s ability last week, claiming his genius “has not been proven”.

Is this why we’ve seen neither hide nor … head of the Secretary of State?

Finally, Dear Reader, you will be aware that Vox Political submitted a Freedom of Information request to the DWP, asking for up-to-date statistics on the number of Employment and Support Allowance claimants who have died during a claim or while appealing against a decision about a claim – and that the request was dismissed on the indefensible grounds that it was “vexatious”. This was not good enough so the matter went to the Information Commissioner’s office and, according to an email received this week, will soon be brought to a conclusion.

Is this why Iain Duncan Smith is hiding?

Perhaps it’s time to drag him out of his bolt-hole and force some answers out of him.

Jayne (Linney), in her blog, has called on people who use Twitter to start tweeting demands for Smith to come forward, using the hashtags #whereisIDS and #DWPLateReview. This is good, and those of you who do so are welcome to use any of the information in this article as ammunition in such a campaign.

There is nothing to stop anyone writing to the press – local or national – to ask what is going on and why benefit claimants are being left in suspense about the future of their claims. People have to work out how they will pay their bills, and the continued uncertainty caused by Mr… Smith’s catalogue of calamities is causing problems up and down the country.

A short message to your MP might help stir the Secretary of State out of his slumber, also.

In fact, let’s use all the tools at our disposal to expose this man for what he is – just as this blog stated in July and in May: A liar and a coward who has committed contempt of Parliament and should be expelled – not just from public office, but from public life altogether.

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29 thoughts on “This benefits bully harasses the powerless but runs away from criticism

  1. edward worrall

    WHAT IS LEFT TO SAY YOU HAVE SAID ABOUT EVERY THING EXCEPT ITS TIME TO SAY GOODBYE SMITHY AS HE HAS DONE SO MUCH DAMAGE TO THE BRITISH WAY OF LIFE WE CAN DO WITHOUT PEOPLE OF HIS KIND (A LIAR AND CHEAT) ONLY OUT TO MAKE A LIFE OF LUXURY FOR HIMSELF AND MISERY FOR THE TAX PAYER WHO ARE TRYING TO KEEP THEIR HEAD ABOVE WATER.

  2. Joe Smith

    Excellent blog, but are you surprised this spineless liar, cheat and fraudster hasn’t kept his word? Offer to send a press release which includes this latest evasion plus his Army career, bettsygate, non existent degree and the potential culpable manslaughter investigation? Mike with your literary prowess this should bring him to heel. Especially if you can get it published in sympathetic press.

    1. Brian

      I wonder whether a family who has had a member die because of this nasty little man could lodge a complaint to the police.

    2. Brian

      The only thing IDS is missing is a black uniform with a peaked cap, similar to those worn by thugs in Germany years ago with the initials SS.

  3. Nick

    IDS cant step down at this time because of all of the gross negligent deaths that have happened to the sick and disabled since 2010 when he became the minister for welfare reform

    the correct procedure is for him to be taken to court for these deaths so that a judge can look at how these deaths have come about so that ALL of those found guilty can be dealt with according to law

    if he decided to stand down he would bring about his guilt as being out of office he could then be sued by any of the family’s involved in the death of one of their family members

    IDS would not risk that it’s best he stays in charge so that more evidence against him build up to such a level that when he does stand trial at some point his imprisonment is secured

  4. Pingback: UNIVERSAL CREDIT = UNIVERSAL HEADACHE | The Flight of the Kakapo

  5. Joe Smith

    You can only try Mike, the man needs a good smack, being a coward, he will run for deep cover behind Cameron’s skirts, unless of course Cameron perceives this as collateral damage which could threaten his current position and the outcome of the election. In which case IDS will be hung out to dry alone and scared. Maybe we could start proceedings as proof of intent.

  6. Maria Muller

    of course he runs away from criticism – he’s a text book narcissist , a two dimensional character at best ; if one of RTU’s DWP staff told the porkies he has used in his ” embellished ” CV in their job application ….they would be in the office so fast their feet wouldn’t touch and then frogmarched out by private security guards in front of claimants and former colleagues ….never mind claiming for haircuts , underpants , breakfasts and very overpriced IT peripherals

  7. jed goodright

    Has anyone seen In Deep Sh*t? Anyone?
    Tell him Mr Cameron would like a word …..
    And then his constituents ….
    And then the disabled people of the land…..
    In Deep Sh*t? Anyone?…………………………

  8. budgie

    It is claimed by Mr Iain Dumb C*** Smith, that his Universal Credit scheme will save £38 billion. Has there been anything published showing how this figure has been arrived at or is it a figure that he has just plucked from the air?

  9. Jonathan Wilson

    His absence is also notable in every newspaper article not directly written by himself or by some fawning lickspittle trying to back him and/or his policies with the vacuous “it needs to be done/changed/screwed up” lines.

    In most statements now issued they no longer come from IDS but by “a spokesperson for the DWP” and said statements have become nothing more than quoting the intent such as “we need to put the fairness back into/the reforms are required to” while completely ignoring the questions actually put to them on specific statements of fact such as “person X has cancer is is dying but has been found fit for work, why is that?” “A DWP spokesperson said… I cant be arsed to answer so will extole a stupid pre-written statement that we will state no matter what the questions specifically put to us are”…. I always though that the DWP as part of the (un)civil service was supposed to be impartial and not spout government rhetoric, or in this case the words of the almighty sainted IDS reformer of worlds. [translation a stupid man so incompetent he can’t even escape the governments most hated job, that of DWP minister.]

    When not “a spokesperson” then it seems that for all quotes IDS hides and puts the equally nasty Fester McVile out to speak like some deranged acolyte or profit for the unspoken, but mystically transfered, teachings of IDS while the deranged anti-christ hides from public life like some hermit due to the fact that every reform and change is now slowly collapsing in a heap… UC, not fit and unworkable; UJM total waste of time and money and full of spam; BT starting to fail so spectacularly that the DWP has resorted to asking councils to help them prop it up by giving details of FtT’s that are won so it can try and mount a challenge (hahaha good luck with that [sark]); welfare to work schemes producing worse outcomes than doing nothing at huge expense; 40%+ appeal success rate for “fit for work” when the person is blindingly not fit for work, in some cases literally blind and unfit…. need I go on?

    The man is a reverse midas, everything he touches turns to sh*t.

  10. Rose-Marie Mcginn

    Time for Ian Duncan Smith to fall on his sword. All MPs should be demanding his resignation. All bullys are cowards – stand up to them and they back down. Seems that even DWP staff are bullied by him – why isn’t the civil service doing something about it. Time someone stood up to the plate and declared his reign of terror over. Thank God he never was prime minister. Think he has ideas of grandeur. Time to call him to account before a select committee. He thinks he is above the law and no one can touch him. Time to bring him back down to earth. I urge everyone to contact their MP and call for his resignation.

  11. bob archer one angry old man.

    why,what a brilliant blog. keep up the good work mike,and the pressure on that obnoxious piece of sh*t. hound him to the ends of the earth,then turn your firepower on to that other swivel eyed prevaricating b*st*rd j unt.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Thank you very much. I’m already extremely interested in Mr *unt, as previous articles about his Bell End incident, his Behind A Tree incident, and the ongoing Unhealthy Service Incident hopefully show.

  12. under 3 YEAR SANCTION.

    HA HA HA HA IDS’S WORLD IS SLOWLY FALLING APART AND WHEN IT DOES I WILL BE HAVING ONE HELL OF A PARTY IN FACT I WILL SP*NK ALL MY JSA ON A MASSIVE DRINK AND DRUGS BINGE TO CELEBRATE, NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU ARE, YOU CANNOT ESCAPE KARMA, AND BOY WILL IT HAVE A FIELD DAY WHEN IT CATCHES UP WITH THIS VILE B*ST*RD!!

  13. Jacquie

    Why are the media so oblivious about the death, injustice, lies, and misery that IDS, Freud and the coalition are causing?

  14. Pingback: This benefits bully harasses the powerless but ...

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  16. Alan Grimes

    A convincing case could be made for IDS to be a worthy candidate for DLA or PIP on Mental Health grounds, he clearly suffers from delusions and paranoia, cannot go out alone, is he anxious? . Habitual liar, unable to face the facts, I would think at least MRC/LRM under existing regulations.

  17. Brian

    In my opinion,this nasty little man should be arrested for manslaughter or murder as a serial killer.as he is responsible for implementing policies that seriously affect the lives of our most vulnerable people.This thug and bully sends shivers down my spine of Nazi Germany decades ago.

  18. Brian

    He also pulled out of a Sky News interview yesterday about the bedroom tax and the affects it is causing nationwide. Like all bullies, in my opinion this man is just a coward,is seldom seen on TV or on the streets talking to the public but stays in his dark bunker planning further chaos.

    1. Nick

      he should be prosecuted for sure hence he has to keep away from the public and that is how he will have to stay for the rest of his life

      all the time he remains a minister he can under law get away with things but should he fail at the next election then he will be liable to scrutiny for his actions

      the future is unclear for both himself and for the sick and disabled that die and their families and that will go on all the time he remains a minister

      he cant back out with so much turmoil that has already gone on

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