Iain Duncan Smith has emerged from under his rock to announce means-testing for disability benefits

Conference speaker: It seems Iain Duncan Smith was at the Tory conference after all - talking about some hare-brained plan to use pre-paid cards to limit what benefit claimants buy.

Conference speaker: It seems Iain Duncan Smith was at the Tory conference after all – talking about some hare-brained plan to use pre-paid cards to limit what benefit claimants buy.

Iain Duncan Smith was practically invisible during the Conservative Party conference. He made a speech – apparently. Can anybody remember what it was about? It seems to have been obscured by overarching interest in what people like Theresa May, George Osborne and even David Cameron had to say.

Well, he’s back now, talking such flagrant and unremitting nonsense about his job that it is hard not to remove the asterisks from the following description of his words: B*llsh*t.

So in Saturday’s Telegraph he was b*llsh*tting about his mission to kill as many people with long-term illness or disabilities as he can, and to kick social housing tenants onto the streets: “I don’t think about this as a job… I have a vocation.”

Oh is that right? Let’s see what RTU has to say when the public kick him out of office next May, when he’ll be told in no uncertain terms – as he was when he was in the Army – that his Services are No Longer Required (and never were).

The Torygraph article seems an attempt to rehabilitate the image of this evil dunce by claiming his founding of the (let’s give it its proper name) Centre for Social Injustice brought into being “one of the most influential centre-right thinktanks in British history”. Does it deserve this gushing praise? Not at all; its only influence is as a cheerleader for RTU’s policies of hate.

“Mr Duncan Smith’s animating passion is to help the workless poor to help themselves by moving off benefits and into employment,” gushes the article by some apparatchik called Tim Ross (who?). “It is easy to see how much value he places on meaningful work, especially after a recession.

“’People at the bottom end have felt it worst,’ he says. ‘I just want to get on and improve their quality of life. This is my mission so I’m going to continue on it.’”

Let’s look at how he plans to do that. According to The Independent, it involves taxing disability benefits for the first time, in order to make it even harder for people living with permanent and progressive conditions to “get on and improve their quality of life”.

The new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is already much harder-to-get than the benefit it replaces, Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Smith reckoned this was fair when he introduced it but now he has decided it would be more fair to reduce the amount of cash available still further.

He’s saying that those on higher incomes should be taxed in order to subsidise higher benefits for the poorest – but the same article states that the move is intended to raise £7 billion, not for people with disabilities, but for the Tory-led government.

It quotes a government source, talking to the Sunday Times: ““It cannot be right that those on the lowest incomes get the same disability benefits as those who are millionaires.” Do we know many millionaires who have claimed DLA or PIP – other than David Cameron?

Ending the universality of disability benefits would involve means-testing. This is complex and costly and results in people who need the benefit not claiming it because the process is too complex or intrusive. Iain Duncan Smith – that odious worm – is aware of this. Why else would he be proposing it? You can expect the new system also to have a version of his ‘mandatory reconsideration’ procedure, currently ruining Employment and Support Allowance, to make sure possible claimants get the message and clear off.

For further evidence against means-testing, read this Vox Political article. It should make you angry.

And keep scanning the newspapers for more stories about poor people who have died as a result of our now-punitive benefit system.

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  1. joanna may October 6, 2014 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Just watching RTU on YouTube, 31.55 minutes of my life wasted!! If you watched did you notice the cringe worthy dreamy sound voice he puts on ugh!! It makes me need to toss my cookies!!

    And lord fraud Intellectual????? Please, I have seen more intellect in a blob of paint!!!

    • Mr.Angry October 6, 2014 at 11:37 am - Reply

      Joanna sorry but paint serves a purpose, it protects things !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you like fraud’s eyebrows? reminds me of a tawny owl. I watched the same and also brought up my cornflakes all over my keyboard. Only wish I could claim on expenses for a new one.

      I never thought I could witness such lack of human compassion from two individuals.

  2. Tony Dean October 6, 2014 at 11:19 am - Reply

    Iain Duncan Smith did make a speech at the Tory Party conference and told VERY big lie about the impending National Roll out of Universal Credit.
    Anyone listening would have thought he was announcing the national roll out of a fully functioning Universal Credit when the only aspect being rolled out nationally will only apply to single people.
    Worth a read, (links to links on the webpage not showing in my copy and paste.

    IDS cons Tory conference with two missing universal credit words
    Category: Latest news Created: Tuesday, 30 September 2014 11:48

    Iain Duncan Smith announced yet another slowdown of the rollout of universal credit to the Conservative conference yesterday, but managed to make it sound like a success by omitting just two vital words from his speech. Whether he actually lied or was just deeply misleading is for the reader to decide.

    In a speech that verged at times on the messianic, but failed to refer at any point to massive waiting times for PIP and ESA medicals, Iain Duncan Smith announced that the roll out of universal credit was to be accelerated.

    He told conference that:

    “Universal Credit has now rolled out in the North West of England – to couples, shortly to families, to more than 1 in 8 jobcentres by Christmas – safely and securely as we always said.

    “But, Conference, today I can announce more.

    “I can announce that we are going to accelerate the delivery of Universal Credit…

    “… from the New Year, bringing forward the national roll-out through 2015/16 to every community across Great Britain.”

    The only problem with this was the two vital words missing from IDS’ speech, but present in the DWP press release – the roll out will only be for ‘single jobseekers’.

    In other words:
    not for couples;
    not for families;
    not for people in work;
    not for people too sick and disabled to work.

    In fact, only for the smallest and simplest group of universal credit claimants for whom no complex software is required at all. This is not a rollout or universal credit at all, it is the rollout of ‘universal credit lite’ to a fraction of the 8 million people who are supposed to be going to be moved onto it.

    IDS went on to say:

    “Secure national delivery… yet at the same time, delivering life change at a local level:

    “strengthening community partnerships, helping vulnerable households…

    “… getting people into a job quicker and staying in work longer…

    “… not just helping the economy but reducing child poverty as well.

    “Bringing up to £35 billion in economic benefits to Britain over the next decade…

    “… making a lasting difference to people’s lives…

    “… now and for generations to come.

    “Friends – Universal Credit is going nationwide – we are going to finish what we started.”

    In truth, the national rollout will not affect ‘vulnerable households’ because it’s only for single claimants.

    It also won’t reduce ‘child poverty’ because it’s only for single claimants.

    And ‘universal credit’ isn’t going nationwide, only a small fraction of it is.

    So, was this a straightforward lie or just weasel words? We leave you, the reader, to make up your own mind.

    But here’s one final piece of evidence.

    In his ministerial statement on 5 December 2013 – which has mysteriously disappeared from the parliament website – IDS announced the revised timetable for the rollout of universal credit, which was itself a massive slowdown from the original plan. The document is deliberately vague about the timetable, but it does state:

    “Meanwhile, we will expand our current pathfinder service and develop functionality so that from next summer we progressively start to take claims for universal credit from couples and, in the autumn, from families. Once safely tested in the 10 live universal credit areas, we will also expand the roll-out to cover more of the north-west of England. This will enable us to learn from the live running of universal credit at scale and for more claimant types, including the more vulnerable and complex.

    “These steps continue our progressive approach—test, learn, implement—as we deliver this flagship programme.

    “Our current planning assumption is that the universal credit service will be fully available in each part of Great Britain during 2016, having closed down new claims to the legacy benefits it replaced; with the majority of the remaining legacy case load moving to universal credit during 2016 and 2017.”

    So, the most recent plan was to run full versions of universal credit – including for ‘the more vulnerable and more complex’ claimants – in the north west of England and then expand out across the country.

    Now, it seems, only the simplest of claims will have been rolled out across the country by April 2016. There is then absolutely no possibility whatsoever of a ‘test, learn, implement’ rollout of the massively more complex full universal credit across the whole country by the end of 2016.

    So what IDS was announcing sounds very much to us like another setback for the rollout of universal credit. The reality is that there is absolutely no evidence that IDS, Freud and their wealthy friends are ‘going to finish what we started’ in 2017, or indeed at any time in the next decade.

  3. Florence October 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    And yet paint ultimately dries, fulfilling it’s purpose, being useful………..unlike Fraud.

    We all struggle with analogies for this bunch, especially for their (lack of) intellectual capacity, but yesterday I trod in something in the street and the problem was solved.

    • Mike Sivier October 6, 2014 at 2:07 pm - Reply

      A slug? A snail?

      • iain moncrieff October 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm - Reply

        Possibly, they come out at night though, rather like IDS. More likely a big dollop of dog sh*t?

        • Mike Sivier October 6, 2014 at 4:49 pm - Reply

          I was being nice and finding alternatives to this option. Yes, this does seem more likely.

      • Florence October 6, 2014 at 10:36 pm - Reply

        Well a slug or snail would have some sign of sentient life and a purpose…….maybe it was discarded chewing gum……….or just mud mixed with pond life?

    • joanna may October 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      I did say a blob can’t think of a possible for that! Though I could say the human appendix, no use for that!
      Er mike don’t the French eat snails? Food very useful especially these days! (I did mean this in a tongue in cheek type way!)

      • Mike Sivier October 6, 2014 at 10:02 pm - Reply

        Yes, but we’re not in France. In our garden – according to Mrs Mike – snails are annoying vermin that eat all the good stuff that we grow in/from our soil.
        There seems to be an appropriate comparison there.

  4. Susan Mitton (@suemitton1) October 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    IDS: ‘It’s my vocation, not just a job’. This warped, narcissistic, delusional, cruel individual, has caused so much hurt and despair to thousands of people, leading some to an early death with some even taking their own lives. ‘Armageddon’ May 2015!

  5. Neil Shaplin October 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    In your final paragraph you mention “scanning the newspapers for more stories about poor people who have died as a result of our now-punitive benefit system.” You’re assuming that the newspapers of our fine nation will care about the poor; they certainly don’t at the moment.
    I read the article you’re writing about, and as soon as I’d finished I logged on to your site for the rebuttal. I had to wait a little, but I wasn’t disappointed. The sooner this odious little hobgoblin is kicked out of the cabinet and out of the Houses of Entitlement (and preferably, off a cliff while we’re at it – along with the rest of them) the better the country will be.

    • Mike Sivier October 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm - Reply

      I had a few commitments away from my computer on Saturday and Sunday, which meant I wasn’t able to devote as much time to the blog as I’d have liked (carer stuff; I’m sure you understand how it is).
      “Odious little hobgoblin”! I like that.

    • Florence October 6, 2014 at 10:53 pm - Reply

      Local papers are often the only places these sad stories get told, as they relate to real people, family & neighbours of the victims of the ConDems, altough I wouldn’t go so far as to make that a blanket statement.

  6. Jim Round October 6, 2014 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Would you agree though Mike that the current benefits, tax and pensions system is not fit for purpose?
    We live in an age of driverless cars, rockets etc.. but cannot set up a reliable system for the above.
    A system where the likes of David Cameron etc.. would not be able to claim DLA, child benefit or receive the state pension.

    • Mike Sivier October 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      The system isn’t fit for purpose, no – right-wing politicians have been corrupting it for years and the last four and a half under Cameron and his bandits have been plain ruinous for honest people.

      • Jim Round October 6, 2014 at 5:01 pm - Reply

        Labour had 13 years to make significant changes but didn’t.
        They don’t seem to want to make any if they get elected next May.
        I await all the party manifesto’s with interest. (Not that they mean anything, may as well be written in pencil to be rubbed out at a later date)

        • Mike Sivier October 6, 2014 at 5:15 pm - Reply

          That’s a very gross generalisation of Labour’s record and plans. Just because it’s a popular opinion doesn’t make it accurate.
          Having said that, I too await the party manifestos – particularly UKIP’s, which was supposed to come out last month.

      • Jim Round October 6, 2014 at 6:10 pm - Reply

        Did they significantly reform PAYE and other taxes? No, just made the book even bigger.
        Did they make major changes to benefits? No, just brought in the mess that was WTC/CTC/WFTC.
        Did they reform council tax? No, just a re-evaluation in Wales.
        Did they reform pensions? No, just brought in the confusing pension credit.
        I could go on but it will be Christmas soon.

        • Mike Sivier October 6, 2014 at 8:29 pm - Reply

          And how would you like them to have changed these things?
          Just because they didn’t do what you wanted doesn’t necessarily make their choices bad.

      • Jim Round October 7, 2014 at 2:02 am - Reply

        With PAYE they could have easily changed the thresholds, and brought in new ones, instead they abolished the 10% tax rate they introduced. Again, what would be an acceptable NI and income tax take for those earning between £10-20,000?
        They could have ripped up the benefits system and started again, earn over a certain amount, no benefits whatsoever.
        No reform of council tax, a land value tax maybe.
        Pensions, a brand new system that gives an informed choice on either state, workplace, private or none, at a rate where no top up is needed.
        WFTC etc… A reformed system of taxes so that employers pay a living wage, no more state top ups.
        The gap between rich and poor continued to grow under Labour.
        And something that those who berate immigration rarely mention, that if we had REAL employment rights and solid workplace terms and conditions, the impact of immigration would be greatly reduced.

        • Mike Sivier October 7, 2014 at 8:45 am - Reply

          The 10 per cent tax rate was introduced as a temporary measure and everybody knew that at the time, so it was inappropriate for anybody to complain when they got rid of it (a lot of people choose to ignore that).
          Your suggestion about the benefits system would have involved costly means testing that would have rendered the exercise pointless.
          (And so on).
          I do agree that it’s a failure of the New Labour neoliberals that the gap between rich and poor continued to grow during their time – but that’s what happens when neoliberals infiltrate a political party.

  7. davidwilson457451595 October 6, 2014 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Perhaps David Cameroon should pay back all the DLA he claimed for his son I am sure as an upright citizen he would do it without being asked. Mmmm right and pigs might fly.

  8. Samwise Gamgee October 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    I was looking forward to posting a few choice comments on the Telegraph article, but there’s no way to post comments there!

    It’s obvious the Telegraph are aware of just how loathed IDS is, even by readers of the Torygraph.

  9. Michele Witchy Eve October 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    A possible leap to the wrong conclusion, but – on the one hand we have the North East being promised £7 billion to bring about an “economic powerhouse” with no mention of where the £7 billion will come from, while on the other hand we have here £7 billion clawed back from the ‘wealthier’ disability claimants. The temptation of adding 2 + 2 is overwhelming.

    The saddest part of the next election is not the demise of the Tory party but the fact that the likes of Insidious Dip Sh*t will only have his ego mildly threatened and nothing much else. He and his ilk will slip off to some cushy, cosy futures through the corporate revolving doors and IDS particularly is likely to blame not his own mendacious behaviour or that of his fellows but firmly believe it’s simply what you get from a thick, ungrateful electorate. That, above most things, really peeves this reader who would like nothing more than an opportunity to land my rather bony knee right in his walnuts. (The queue starts here.)

    • Mike Sivier October 6, 2014 at 4:48 pm - Reply

      Believe me, some of us would rather exact a more litigious – and lasting – revenge upon him for what he has been doing.

  10. victedy October 6, 2014 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Did he tell David Cameron he was entitled to DLA for his disabled son?

    • Mike Sivier October 6, 2014 at 4:48 pm - Reply

      Before his time.

  11. cartertheblogger October 7, 2014 at 5:41 am - Reply

    I know it’s peripheral to this otherwise excellent blog, but you’ll find a short note about the stupidity of the ‘locked downcashcards for benefits’ idea here http://sometimesitsjustacigar.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/cash-card-ingenuity/

  12. Susan Avon October 7, 2014 at 7:43 am - Reply

    IDS and the Tories are indeed an odious bunch who deserve having all sorts of nasty things happeining to them. But why are you always so defensive of the Labour Party in all this? Granted, you do express mild criticism, but Labour’s performance on the Tory benefit reforms has been disgustingly bad, merely promising to outdo the Tories in how nasty they can be towards benefit claimants, especially the unemployed. Indeed, even whilst in ‘opposition’ Labour has activelyt supported the Tories in their persecution of benefit claimants by not opposing the charade that allowed IDS to pass a law to break a law that saw that thousands of wrongly sanctioned JSA claimants lost out financially. The Labour Party was also instrumental in allowing the Bedroom Tax legislation passing.

    Instead of siding with the extreme right in the vilification of the poor and the unemployed, (and not forgetting the sick and disabled) and propsing even harsher measures Labour should at the very least be promoting hope. There is a desperate need to create real jobs, (in locally based manufacturing, not skivvy McJobs) and also a desperate need to create opportunities for real training that seeks to equip people with the skills they need in order to gain and sustain jobs.

    In short we need a political part that is prepared to bite the bullet and be prepared to tax the very wealthy out of existence, to tax the multinationla corporations properly. It’s not rocket science, and though many businesses and business people might threaten to leave these shores as a result most of that is an empty threat. These islands form a relatively large market that no serious business would want to ignore – all that has to be done is to insist that businesses operating here use a local workforce, that manufacturers, be they foreign based multinationals or domestic have to make what they sell in the UK (which would have to exclude EU based manufacturers, but I regard the EU as basically the same as the UK)

    There also needs to be a committment to investing in the social fabric of the country, such as a massive house building programme and a return to the notion that socially rented housing is something that everyone can access and is something to aspire to instead of housing of last resort.

    Those are just a few ideas that spring to mind. I know they aren’t original, and anyone old enough, or with enough knowledge of post WW2 history will recognise where they come from. The only proviso that I would insist on is that it is the people directly running them, instead of the state on their behalf.

    • Mike Sivier October 7, 2014 at 8:56 am - Reply

      You seem to have missed most of the last four and a half years of Labour opposition to the benefit reforms. What about the fact that Labour opposed every piece of Coalition legislation that changed the benefit laws (barring the retroactive Jobseeker Act you mention – and then only because they thought they had gained important concessions)? What about all the Opposition Day debates on the terrible effects of those laws?

      Labour did not help the Bedroom Tax through – you are mistaken in that. The Labour Party opposed the Welfare Reform Act (of which the Bedroom Tax is a part) unanimously. Why do you suggest otherwise?

      Labour has not sided with the extreme right. Labour policy is to create real jobs. Labour policy is to establish real opportunities for training, with a renewed emphasis on vocational education and proper apprenticeships (as opposed to whatever the Tories are offering this week).

      Your comments about tax do not follow on from your comments about what Labour has done (in Opposition) on social security. Taxing the rich “out of existence” is not a viable, or even a mature, approach; although progressive taxation that takes account of the degree of extra wealth they have would be welcomed. Boosting HMRC to ensure it could close down tax avoidance operations would also be a strong move.

      Labour’s planned house building programme is the biggest of all those announced by the main parties. I agree that social housing needs a boost and hope that this will come in on the back of the building plan.

      So you can see that most of your criticisms of Labour are unfounded and most of your hopes for the future are most likely to be fulfilled with Labour.

      Why are you criticising me for supporting the party?

  13. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl) October 7, 2014 at 8:25 am - Reply

    This person is not fit for the job. He obviously has a severe problem and needs help. The best help he can get would be the sack and then do a proper day’s work for a proper day’s pay.

  14. Jurgen October 7, 2014 at 8:41 am - Reply

    My suspicion is that the Help-to-Work scheme is a flop and a failure. I recently asked for statistics from the DWP which would have proven conclusively whether or not my suspicion was correct.


    This was refused on grounds that the DWP intends to publish the data at some unspecified point in the future. How can the department refuse to release data in the public interest simply by claiming that it will be published itself someday without giving a time-frame? This isn’t right. These rotters shouldn’t be able to avoid being exposed by facile tricks like this. These awful people should be exposed for what they are and held to account for their actions.

  15. Christine October 7, 2014 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Dear Mr Mike Sivier

    Is there some reason that I can no longer comment on Vox Political please?

    I never gained DLA after 2 years of trying with nonsense replies back from DWP and ATOS.

    A lot of people on DLA now are losing it in the move to PIP.

    The same is happening with ESA (support component).

    With the huge rise in benefit sanctions for many months, with a 7 day waiting period for hardship payments, then people are being left to starve, shown by the rise of 70 per cent in starvation since 2010, again confirmed by doctors saying they’ve had a massive rise in malnutrition hospital admissions.

    It takes about a month to starve to death.
    Only the honest starve.
    Criminals do not starve, so benefit cheats are a tiny minority of the population.

    I never got any benefit.
    Any benefit would have meant it being taxes as well as my small works pension, even though both together are far below the basic tax allowance,
    then I cannot access food vouchers to get food from a food bank.

    The loss of state pension at 60 for women born from 1953, has meant far less state pension in the future or even nil for millions of women into the future
    and even for men born from 1951. People are just not being told by government.

    As the majority reason people over 50 are not in work, is due to being disabled and/or chronic sick, and over half are within the working poor, then the loss of state pension is the last straw, after losing all other benefits.

    • Mike Sivier October 7, 2014 at 10:28 am - Reply

      Weren’t you flooding the comment columns with huge essays saying the same thing again and again? I think you were.
      I was having to take a lot of time going through the chaff to find the wheat (to use a Harvest-time metaphor).
      Keep to the point and I won’t have to.

  16. clivegsd October 8, 2014 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Do we know many millionaires who have claimed DLA or PIP – other than David Cameron?<— Try Betsy Duncan Smith when she was diagnosed with cancer. I asked IDS via my MP if his wife claimed DLA, he sent the enquiry to the DWP who immediately stated they cannot comment on individual cases.

    If he has nothing to hide he has nothing to fear (nice reversal) so why didn't he say yes or no?

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