‘Scaremongering’, Iain? Isn’t that more your line of work?

Iain Duncan Smith reckons there is no link between his regressive changes to benefits and the rise of food banks. Let's check that. First, we'll look at wages - because working people are going to food banks as well as the unemployed. This graph clearly shows how wage increases have dropped (while inflation has continued to boost prices).

Iain Duncan Smith reckons there is no link between his regressive changes to benefits and the rise of food banks. Let’s check that. First, we’ll look at wages – because working people are going to food banks as well as the unemployed. This graph clearly shows how wage increases have dropped (while inflation has continued to boost prices).

As far as the effects of benefit up-rating measures are concerned, reductions in entitlement are unsurprisingly concentrated in the bottom half of the income distribution. The lowest-income decile group see the largest fall in entitlements as a percentage of income (1.5%) as a result of measures in the Bill, and the second decile see the largest decrease in cash terms, losing about £150 per year on average.

As far as the effects of benefit up-rating measures are concerned, reductions in entitlement are unsurprisingly concentrated in the bottom half of the income distribution. The lowest-income decile group see the largest fall in entitlements as a percentage of income (1.5%) as a result of measures in the Bill, and the second decile see the largest decrease in cash terms, losing about £150 per year on average.

What does this mean for foodbanks? This graph, showing the exponential rise in their use, should be self-explanatory - to everyone not at the DWP, at least.

What does this mean for foodbanks? This graph, showing the exponential rise in their use, should be self-explanatory – to everyone not at the DWP, at least.

Iain Duncan Smith needs to think before making unwise statements.

He was in the headlines over the weekend after he accused food bank charity The Trussell Trust of “scaremongering” in order to get publicity for its work.

Refusing to meet representatives of the trust – thereby reneging (in advance!) on a promise we all heard during the food bank debate in Parliament last week – he stated in a letter written during November that the increased poverty forcing people to seek food bank aid was not linked to his regressive changes in the social security system, and that the charity was using this claim to get publicity for itself.

Quoted in The Observer, his letter began by criticising the “political messaging of your organisation”, which “despite claiming to be nonpartisan” had “repeatedly sought to link the growth in your network to welfare reform”.

He went on to reject suggestions that the government was to blame: “I strongly refute this claim and would politely ask you to stop scaremongering in this way. I understand that a feature of your business model must require you to continuously achieve publicity, but I’m concerned that you are now seeking to do this by making your political opposition to welfare reform overtly clear.”

Has nobody noticed that this attitude is clearly contradictory? If The Trussell Trust was a corporation that was seeking to increase its share of a market, then he might have a point, but the entire thrust of this charity’s argument is that everyone involved wishes they were not having to do this work. Any publicity it seeks is intended to reduce the need for food banks, rendering Mr Duncan Smith’s claims about publicity-seeking null and void.

One would have expected him to realise this when he found himself writing that the Trust had “repeatedly sought to link the growth in your network” – a growth that the Trust deplores – “to welfare reform”.

Also, if he wants to refute any claim he must provide evidence to the contrary – a feat that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has yet to manage regarding any of his policies.

But then, as Sir John Major has pointed out, he isn’t very bright.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson, quoted in the same newspaper report, said, “There is no robust evidence that welfare reforms are linked to increased use of food banks.”

Oh no? Let’s resort to a little common sense then. What do you think happens when wages are pushed downwards for a period of more than three years, while benefits are slashed to the bone?

Exactly. Perhaps, if the DWP wants evidence, it should do some empirical research.

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16 thoughts on “‘Scaremongering’, Iain? Isn’t that more your line of work?

  1. Joseph Smith

    As every one with the least grain of intelligence or common sense knows (Cameron? ) Ian Duncan Smith in addition to being a cheat and fraudster is also a skilled congenital liar. He can’t tell the truth about anything, even relatively unimportant items such as degrees, army career wife’s salary and expenses, he lies about and will continue to do so. The main question therefore has to be why is this government employing him and what does that tell us about Cameron’s integrity and leadership. Or has IDS got something on cameron

    1. Big Bill

      He’s useful. While IDS has the country arguing over whether pensioners should keep their bus-passes no-one even suggests wealthy landowners should give up their grants and subsidies or why those arguable benefits aren’t included when it comes to totting up the cost of the welfare system. He’s very useful to the sort of people who are inclined to vote Tory on the basis of short-sighted greed.

      1. Joseph Smith

        Probably right there. The mans got to be useful for something. No doubt our highly honest dependable man of the highest integrity”…………Cameron will look after IDS interests when his (ids) usefulness expires.

  2. Jim Butler-Daulby (@Psychjim)

    I follow your (and other) blogs highlighting the blindingly obvious failings of governemt policies and rhetoric. The lies, misdirections, misinformation and ignorance of the likes of Camoron, Bunkum Smith, Oddballs and the rest seem so patently obvious to me and many others. What baffles me is how ignorant the majority appear to be when presented with such obvious facts. I’m well aware of the media’s role in perpetuating some political myths, but the numbers of people now being DIRECTLY affected by such damage must be reaching a critical mass, surely? For many, if not directly affected, there must be family members, friends and neighbours experiencing the full force of this failed ideology. Why then, are there so many people blindly following the stink? I’ve had some of my comments trolled in the most hatefilled vitriolic way by so-called intelligent people, in some cases threatening all manner of painful demise. The media, including many pudits reporting on the internet, are predicting Labour failing to make a majority in the next election because, apparently, Milliband doesn’t “look like a leader”, nor are they to be entrusted with “running the economy”! So what are we to do? The remotest threat that these gangsters could swing another victory terrifies me for the sake of those disabled, infirm, sick, elderly, under/unemployed (and there will be many more of them), and society as a whole! It can only end in serious conflict with violence. The only outcome of violent revolution is a totalitarian state, as history has repeatedly shown us! Once adrenaline flows, reason disappears. There are extremely angry people on both sides. I fear for my kids.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Yes, the arguments against Miliband/Labour are nonsense. What does his appearance have to do with anything? And how can anyone suggest the Conservatives are better at running the economy? The evidence does not support the assertion.

      1. Big Bill

        I’d agree Miliband neither appears to be nor is a natural leader of men. I would remind everyone to0 it wasn’t reasonable debate which got the then normal dawn to dusk working day reduced to eight hours, nor got the Magna Carta signed, nor won against the Nazis, nor did away with the Poll Tax. We should remember too that much currently existing legislation greatly favours the owners of land (there’s sales and income taxes but no land value tax, for example) and the owners of that land are in many cases the descendents of those who invaded and took it by force. Violence works a treat and reasonable debate can only occur after violence has won the day and set the table. We should probably all be getting tooled up, after all, we know from Beastrabban’s blog the police are.

      2. Boz

        the current front bench of the ‘labour’ party is exactly the same as the front bench of the ‘new labour’ government – no change there then – is that what you want?

    2. Jim Round

      Again, problem here is the small percentage of the population this is affecting, in the past few days I have been in supermarkets and witnessed trollies bulging with food, drink and consumer goods, large numbers of people descending on certain high street shops and read that more is being spent at online retailers.
      Wether these things are bought on credit etc matters not, what matters is that most of these consumers are not affected by the rise in foodbanks, benefit sanctions etc… until these things affect over around I’d say 5 million rather than several hundred thousand, nothing will change.

  3. Joseph Smith

    As far as I’m concerned a pack of Chimps would do a better more honest job than these coalition chumps. Remember also, the media is running scared of enforceable legislation following the hacking row, being sympathetic to the ruling elite helps a lot, also the comfortable wealthy ones are deaf and blind to the suffering caused by this Fascist government.

  4. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    In this post, Mike comprehensively refutes IDS claims that the rise in foodbanks, and poverty in general, was not due to the government’s welfare reforms. This in response to RTU’s statement, quoted in the Observer, that the Trussell Trust was merely attacking government policy in order to gain publicity that would allow it to expand. Mike points out that this statement is nonsensical, when applied to a charity that makes it absolutely clear that it would not like to do what they are forced to by the government’s policies. One of the most profound problems with the government’s Neo-Liberal policies is that they apply economic and management models from commercial, profit-making businesses, and apply them to areas where they cannot, such as the provision of vital services. Everything is seen purely in business terms. This attack by Smith on the Trussell Trust exemplifies this attitude. It’s an accurate statement of the attitude and values, not of the Trussell Trust, but of IDS and his superiors, Cameron and Osborne.

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