Iain Duncan Smith says welfare reform must continue
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said welfare reforms driving the “jobs miracle” must continue.
In a speech in London, Mr Duncan Smith said that changes so far had played a vital role in getting people back into employment and ending a welfare dependency culture, reports the BBC.
Mr Duncan Smith also said that they needed to go further as the UK faced challenges from other countries. The idea of limiting child-related benefits to the first few children in a family had been looked at, but it was not going ahead “right now”.
Mr Duncan Smith said the policies of the last Labour government led to whole sections of society being left on the sidelines and communities marked by widespread unemployment.
“The number of households where nobody had ever worked doubled – and the welfare bill rose by twice as much as average earnings,” he said. “More than half of the rise in employment that we saw was accounted for by foreign nationals. And not just in London – three-quarters of Eastern European migrants in employment live outside London. Immigration into the UK has been a supply-and-demand issue. Businesses needed the labour and because of the way our benefit system was constructed, too few of the economically inactive took the jobs on offer. It was clear to me that in large part this situation was the product of a dysfunctional welfare system that often trapped those it was supposed to help in cycles of worklessness and dependency. My one aim as work and pensions secretary has been to change this culture – and everything we have done, every programme we have introduced, has been about supporting everyone who is able to into work.”
He said that the Bank of England deputy governor had said “the UK jobs miracle – with more people going into work and unemployment falling dramatically – is hugely down to the welfare reforms”.
But Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “David Cameron’s government has failed to control social security spending and is set to overspend on welfare by a staggering £13bn. Under Iain Duncan Smith, housing benefit spending is rising, not falling. The number of working people claiming housing benefit is set to double between 201018 costing every British household £488. The government’s flagship welfare reforms are in chaos. Millions of taxpayers money has been wasted on the £12.8bn universal credit, which less than 7,000 people are claiming.”
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