Can you believe Iain Duncan Smith is still trying to say his Benefit Cap, which pushes people into poverty, is “improving social mobility”?
The only way this could possibly be true is if that social mobility was going downward.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper the Work and Pensions Secretary claimed that his reduction in payments was providing people with a “clear path to fulfilling lives and independence from the state”.
“Welfare reform is improving social mobility for families across the country,” he argued. “A key example of this is the benefit cap which we brought in to put a stop to sky-high benefit pay-outs. Under the Bill, the cap will be lowered from £26,000 to £23,000.”
Noting that a number of those who had been hit by the cap had found jobs, he said the cuts were not just about saving money.
“This is social justice in action, welfare reform that improves individual lives, not that just generates savings,” he wrote in the newspaper
Mr Duncan Smith presented no evidence to establish that the households had found work because their benefits had been cut, however.
We’ve heard this nonsense before, of course. Remember back in 2013, when the cap was first imposed at its figure of £26,000 per family? ‘Gentleman Ranker’ IDS tried to claim that 8,000 people had moved off-benefit and into work, just after being informed of the change.
Pollsters Ipsos Mori surveyed 500 of the 8,000 people concerned, and found that 15 per cent of them hadn’t even heard of the benefit cap, and another 31 per cent only knew a little about it. Only 57 per cent remembered being informed that the cap would affect them, and of these, 71 per cent were already looking for work.
About half of those who remembered getting a letter about the cap took action afterwards. For 31 per cent, this meant looking for work (although half of these were already looking).
This means of the 500 surveyed, only around 45 people started looking for work because of the cap that weren’t doing so before. The best that could be said in reality was that about 720 people started looking for work and found it after hearing of the cap, who weren’t looking before.
This is not a particularly impressive behavioural change – in fact, on May 9 of that year, Andrew Dilnot of the UK Statistics Authority wrote to warn the Gentleman Ranker that he was playing fast and loose with the figures, and to demand that he correct himself.
Now he’s back, doing more of the same and expecting a different result (a sure sign of madness); spouting the same nonsense and expecting us to believe it.
He has no evidence to support his childish claims.
Charities dealing with poverty and homelessness, on the other hand, do. They say the benefit cap will become an even worse disaster for the people of the UK than it is already.
The biggEST disaster for us all, of course, is Iain Duncan Smith and the Conservative Party.
If you know anybody who voted for them, be sure to remind them of their mistake, every day, until the next election.
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