Sanction threat to health: Duncan Smith replies with lies


Iain Duncan Smith has responded to the concerns of fellow Catholics over the harmful effects of benefit sanctions on health – by lying to them.

Earlier this year, Catholic magazine The Tablet published an open letter from fellow Catholics to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, urging him to rethink his welfare reforms, and warning that vulnerable people will be harmed by cuts.

Now the man we call the Gentleman Ranker, in tribute to his failure as an Army officer, has responded with a letter published in the current edition. Thanks to Samuel Miller for bringing the matter to This Blog’s attention.

In it, he claims that “safeguarding the vulnerable” is at the heart of the Conservative Government’s changes to the benefit system, and goes on to say, “Let me be clear that there is no evidence to suggest that sanctions have caused claimants’ health to deteriorate.”

Oh, really?

Take a look at this excerpt from the Department for Work and Pensions’ own guidance on the effect of benefit sanctions:


Note that it does not say anything about there being no evidence that claimants’ health will decline – it automatically assumes that this will happen.

“It would be usual for a normal healthy adult to suffer some deterioration in their health,” according to the DWP’s official guidance.

It goes on to say that, in the case of claimants with a medical condition, a DWP decision maker (DM) must decide whether they would suffer a “greater” decline in health than a “normal healthy adult”.

Yet again, Iain Duncan Smith is revealed to be a liar and, more importantly, a man who would deceive the public in order to continue inflicting harm on his fellow human beings.

Is this a Catholic attitude?

Is it a Christian point of view?

Remember, Iain Duncan Smith lied to Parliament recently, when he claimed that statistics on the deaths of incapacity benefit and Employment and Support Allowance claimants are not collected by the Department for Work and Pensions. Not only are they collected, they are being prepared for release to the public.

The data has been delayed for several years, however – because he wants it released in a form that will not reveal what is suspected to be a horrifying amount of blood on his own hands.

The claims in the rest of the letter pale into irrelevance next to these facts.

How can anyone trust the claims of a habitual liar?

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  1. Mr.Angry July 25, 2015 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    One very sick man.

    • marjorie July 25, 2015 at 9:38 pm - Reply


  2. Jeffery Davies July 25, 2015 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Catholics should excommunicate him for his actions but then the churches bishop 59 in britain havent realy spoken out to much helping this devil to commit more deaths through benefits denials jeff3

  3. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7) July 25, 2015 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Mike Sivier has written an excellent piece and I commend him heartily. But it would have been nice to receive credit for bringing this matter to his attention, including the content of his blog post, when I tweeted this ( two days ago.

    • Mike Sivier July 25, 2015 at 4:37 pm - Reply

      My apologies.
      I had the tweet when I was in Bristol, where I had to attend a funeral yesterday.
      When I wrote the article this morning, I was acutely aware that this had been awaiting attention for some time and was intent on publishing it quickly – so I managed to forget to credit you. Will fix it now.

  4. Catherine Cooper July 25, 2015 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    I am not a Catholic, but I believe that Catholics go to confession to confess their sins and the priest has the power to forgive them, those sins. So, I don’t think IDS is bothered about his lies and spiteful, uncaring attitude to people less fortunate than himself. He will be forgiven, he thinks!

  5. JohnDee July 25, 2015 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    I just can’t believe the spin in his letter. There’re even more lies here than on his CV! Where does one begin?

    He says “…exempting disability benefits …. from the Working-age Benefits freeze…”. Am I mistaken in thinking that only the extra benefit awarded because of disability is exempt – the small amount extra awarded because of disability will rise – but the bulk of disabled claimants’ allowance will NOT rise with inflation?

    “…we ensure the most vulnerable are protected, and no one is sanctioned without first being made aware of hardship payments…”. Anecdotal evidence (the actual figures of what the DWP staff tell their clients cannot be verified) suggests this is yet another monumental porkie.

    “…providing a strong welfare safety net for those in need… safeguarding the vulnerable is at the very heart of our reforms…”. So if all those disabled people are so ‘safe’ why the extended delay and figure massaging of the real figures of those dying in the meantime?

    “… The average time a claimant waits for a PIP assessment is now five weeks for new claims, and four weeks for reassessments of existing claims…”. If that’s true then, following delay after delay, it’s only just improved. Again, anecdotal evidence suggests previous new claims taking six months and more for assessment during the years of delay and broken deadline promises trying to roll this monster out.

    “…align the ESA Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) rate with that of JSA for new claims…” – well that’s not supporting the vulnerable sick – that’s significantly reducing their payments.

    “…because it is important not to write disabled people off to a life on benefits…”. No, he’s counting on them as more likely to ‘die off’ with the stress – or does he think the strain of condemnation for making a ‘lifestyle choice’ for living on the breadline (as if) is going to cure them of their illnesses?

    “National Living Wage … will rise to £9 by 2020.” And who will force employers to pay it? Meanwhile, workers at the low end are now spending 50% of their income on rents. And with the housing bubble increasing by the minute, things can only get worse! With accelerating spending on housing benefit, those unfortunates forced to claim it will be blamed for the unsustainable costs instead of the rapacious landlords laughing all the way to the bank.

    “I am sure you share in my delight …”. Oh, I give up! It’s making my head ache. Ah well, at least no-one’s fooled by this serial LIAR:

  6. Nick Fourbanks July 25, 2015 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    If you place someone who is not well under stress then there health will deteriorate both physically and mentally as any doctor will tell you that

    I am at loss why IDS would make such an misleading statement we will have to wait till he himself falls ill and then question him again as to what stress means

    stress in some people is a very big deal leading to heart/lung pain /insomnia/ chronic indigestion/ Crohn’s disease leading to server weight loss and many other aliments it also leads to mental imbalance and often leads to death

  7. M de Mowbray July 25, 2015 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    It is a crime that this criminal is allowed to continue in office, an insult to all humanity.

  8. lambtonwyrm July 25, 2015 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    I hate that phase “Let me be clear”

  9. NMac July 26, 2015 at 11:02 am - Reply

    I would be more surprised if I heard Duncan-Smith had told the truth. He is an extremely dishonest and corrupt individual.

    • Mike Sivier July 26, 2015 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      Yes, we know that; but readers of The Tablet, who are religious and therefore probably more Conservative than readers of this blog, may need to be shown.

  10. filthymurderergeorgesmith July 26, 2015 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    One sick sick puppy if IT can LIE on IT’S CV it can LIE about anything

  11. Daniel Margrain July 26, 2015 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    IDS fits the definition of a psychopath.

  12. polwin12 July 26, 2015 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    The ‘taxpayers’…….people who receive benefits are taxpayers too!
    VAT on utility bills and they also pay a percentage of council tax. To my mind the only people who don’t pay taxes are children……oh and yeah politicians and big business mates
    who skive their money away

  13. polwin12 July 26, 2015 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    As for evidence of sanctions: I didn’t exactly have a sanction but my ESA was stopped over an error regarding my address.
    As I have the printout of my records it shows that a note had been made that I was very distressed when I phoned dwp to ask why I had not received payment.
    So they HAD made a note of it.
    So perhaps those who are getting sanctions now would be advised to request (demand?) that a note be made on their record at dwp that the sanction has caused extreme distress, exacerbated deterioration in health; both physically through hunger and cold,plus mentally through anxiety, panic,worry and fear.
    IDS’s comment that hardship payments are available: ever tried getting one? Plus the amount paid is not enough to cover all needs, food, gas, electric, water, fares etc.
    As it is a loan a debt will build up for this too, if there is no money to pay it back.
    And those who also have to pay the bedroom tax again will go into debt, with possibility of eviction.
    Seems the whole benefits reform hasn’t been thought through.
    Oh wait a minute perhaps IDS has thought it through and thought…..”yep that’s fine…..suits my agenda perfectly.”

    • Georgesmithsanctionmasterlivingfreeinbetsygaff July 26, 2015 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      erm get a job

  14. mrmarcpc July 30, 2015 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    More spin and bulls**t from this lying, evil sack of tory s**t, should be called out on his lies and made to look even more stupid than he already looks, the only people he safeguards are the rich, like himself and the rest of the tory party, they dare call themselves Christian, someone should tell them that what they are doing to the British public is anything but Christian!

    • Mike Sivier July 31, 2015 at 12:09 pm - Reply

      While I sympathise with what you’re saying, could you refrain from the profanities with which you say it, please? Unless there’s a very good reason for them, I don’t allow them on the site as they turn people away and the point of the politics here is to be inclusive.

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