Advanced search

Poor people still clinging to life, warns Iain Duncan Smith

(120 Posts)
ttosca Mon 31-Dec-12 15:34:38

The work and pensions secretary has issued a stark warning that some poor people are stubbornly clinging to life despite his best efforts to remove them from the welfare system by killing them off.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Iain Duncan Smith said that people who are poor and alive are much more likely to claim benefits and tax credits than people who are dead.

“The overwhelming majority of people who claim benefits are alive,” he explained.

“This is a situation that we cannot allow to continue.”

“We need to implement a system that encourages people off benefits and into mortuaries.”
Duncan Smith on obituaries

Mr Duncan Smith also lambasted the tax credit system put in place by Labour, describing it as “not fit for purpose”.

“It is not fair that decent hardworking people should have to foot the bill for decent hardworking people,” he said.

“What we need is a fairer system that involves employers paying what they want, being able to sack people when they want and for whatever reason they want.”

“Employers are more likely to create jobs and take on more staff if they can sack them.”

Duncan Smith used numerous pieces of evidence-free evidence in order to highlight how the poorest in society are causing the UK to haemorrhage money quicker than Paul Merson playing Three-card Monte.

“It is important when discussing welfare reforms that I use the word ‘fraud’ as often as possible,” he said.

“It is equally important when discussing tax avoidance and MPs expense claims that I don’t use it at all.”

“That way everyone knows where they stand.”

MurderOfGoths Tue 01-Jan-13 23:29:16

"But I resent that they seem to assume that everyone has the same chances in life when they just don't."

Absolutely. They definitely give the impression of believing that anyone who isn't rich only has themselves to blame and should be punished for it. Not taking into account the huge variety of external influences/luck that can affect someone's life/income. Also ignoring the fact that everyone can't be rich, there will always be people stuck at the bottom. Unless we made it so every single person had exactly the same amount of money, which I can't see happening really.

PeahenTailFeathers Wed 02-Jan-13 06:52:52

IDS, who has had his own struggles with unemployment that not even falsifying his CV helped with, is ridiculously nasty and divisive.

IDS has proposed to stop so-called under-employed people topping up their wages with tax credits etc when they are capable of working for longer - bear in mind that unemployment is incredibly high (as it generally is when Tories are in power) so people are, frankly, lucky to have any work they can get their hands on and may have little or no chance of moving from part-time to full-time unemployment or, if they are working full time, earning more money from their current job or finding something better paid. People will be told they have to earn a minimum amount each week from their jobs and will face losing their housing benefit and tax credits if they don't earn enough. To quote, "We are already requiring people on out of work benefits to do more to prepare for and look for work. Now we are looking to change the rules for those who are in-work and claiming benefits, so that once they have overcome their barriers and got into work, in time they can reduce their dependency or come off benefits altogether." He would like these plans to come into force this year.

I agree that tax credits do not subsidise people who claim them, they subsidise businesses; not just small ones but the likes of Asda, the Arcadia group (already notorious for its owner's tax evasion) and Vodaphone to name but a tiny few.

In fact, I wonder how much, for example, a night at the opera for IDS is subsidised by the taxpayer. Ushers, concession staff, cleaners, taxi drivers etc could all be receiving tax credits - IDS doesn't have to pay a fair price for his night out.

Glitterknickaz Wed 02-Jan-13 09:14:28

He's not basically a decent man.
People are dying because of his policies. Stats suggest 73 a month.

Families are being forced to food banks.

Tax Credits are a flawed system but until employers are compelled to pay a wage people can survive on IDS is just pulling the support away with nothing in its place. It's like taking the life ring away from a drowning man and expecting him to get on with his own rescue.

MiniTheMinx Wed 02-Jan-13 12:16:04

Being "good" and being "deluded" are not incompatible as IDS proves. I think, he really believes his own moral arguments about rescuing the poor from their immoral idleness. _Of course he is wrong, he is using the language of culture and religion to explain an economic phenomena_ The man's a prat but evil he isn't. To be evil would imply that he was acting out of malice.....he isn't. Cameron and Osborne are a different story, privileged white men who believe they are "born" to rule and they are the epitome of everything that is wrong in a class society where they know exactly what needs to be done to protect their own class interests. IDS is one of the co-opted, not one of them. It can be seen fairly clearly in Osborne and Cameron's (feudal society) rather ambivalent attitude towards business and taxation. There is a dichotomy btw wanting to protect their own class interest, wanting to attack the capitalist class but realising that their position now relies upon the capitalist class. Wanting to reform tax and collect corporate tax, effects their wealth indirectly more than directly. The relationship btw old Tories (of the upper classes) and business is not an easy one.

niceguy2 Wed 02-Jan-13 12:46:24

I agree that tax credits do not subsidise people who claim them, they subsidise businesses;

I think it does both. It's allowed many people to work less hours than they otherwise would have. It's stopped many from working extra hours and yes businesses have benefitted because they can now find many willing employees to work part time whereas before they wouldn't have had the applicants thus forcing them to offer full time hours to fill the vacancy.

Case in point is my friend who has been offered more hours but has worked out that financially it's not worth it because of tax credits. From what I've read, she's far from alone.

Xenia Wed 02-Jan-13 12:52:04

And that is not very fair on those of us who work very long hours and many weeks a year to subsidise part time workers in idleness.

MiniTheMinx Wed 02-Jan-13 13:40:14

To be fair though Xenia, you might add that your full time employment pays far more than would your part time employment plus tax credits. I thought that there was some sort of taper so that employment at extra hours would always ensure you were slightly better off. However I guess once you take into account other factors such as increased transport costs, lunches, child care, having to budget for time saving crap fast food !! etc, it hasn't always paid for lower waged workers to increase their hours.

Xenia Wed 02-Jan-13 14:15:45

Yes, I am over that cusp but not everyone is. A woman on £50k with no help from her child's father pays £14k tax, £14k one child full time nursery place and about £14k mortgage on £150k loan. She is about the same as someone on benefits. The only answers are ensure life on benefits is much less easy and introduce workfare too and of course the working single mother may hope to earn more than £50k eventually, after 30 years might own her property and finally once her child is at school will have a lower childcare cost.

I think sexism is often at the heart of it - women brought up to be servants and cleaners serving male needs at home, conditioned to think they will earn only pin money whilst men earn the bigger bucks and men forcing them into a ghetto of lower paid work. I was asking someone about this yesterday - whey did his ex wife never work (she had a good degree). He thinks on balance she was lazy and she preferred to stay at home for 15 years. Now of course in relatively poverty post divorce they pay the price for such stupid and sexist decisions.

picketywick Wed 02-Jan-13 15:55:50

Aenia You have said previous "There is not a lot of work about"

And £50 is a vast difference to an unemployed single person getting 70 quid a week to live on.

I suspect half of the working population cant imagine what 50k a year looks like. (It will seem mickey mouse money to many of them)

The inequalities in our countery our like fanance gone mad. I suppose tax credits were an attempt to give poorly paid workers a living wage.

We must not talk about solving problems That is not one of the options.
We should think in terms of improving things for those at the bottom

Those at the top seem to have a great deal more than a fair deal.

And Tory governments using the word FAIRENESS is like a ferret opening a rest home for rabbits

picketywick Wed 02-Jan-13 15:56:44

I meant 50K in the second para.

Xenia Wed 02-Jan-13 17:11:47

Wait do the sums.
£50k - you pay £14k tax. so yo are left with £36,000.
You work full time. The full time nursery place just for one child is £14,000 That leaves you with £22,000 which is about the maximum housing benefit these days.

£14k is the mortgage on a £150k loan.

That leaves you with £8000
Then you pay your work travel costs and for a few skirts and probably babysitting the nights you work late.
Total £2000? Might well be even higher.
Say leaves £6000 net. hich is £115 a week.

So a benefits claimant may well have the same cash left each week as the single mother on £50k working full time.

The benefits claimant meanwhile does not a stroke of work has council tax benefit and free school meals and free prescriptions.

of course if you earn £60k or £80k then you will be better off and long term even on £50k you will be better off as you won't have childcare costs and in 30 years you may own your house outright.

pointedlynoresolutions Wed 02-Jan-13 18:36:32

Xenia since you seem to like doing the sums - can you do them for a cleaner working full time for NMW - who will be getting some benefits? And then can you make the moral argument that people like this, who do essential work that someone has to do, should not get help to reach an acceptable standard of living? That to my mind is the biggest problem with IDS - he seems to believe that if someone does not earn a high wage, that is somehow their fault for not trying harder/not having done well in school/whatever.

There will always be people who do the shit jobs - I hope you are not advocating that we should accept cutting their already low incomes further?

And £50k is somewhere in the region of the top 15% of incomes - a pipe dream for most people. DH and I earn a smidge over that between us, both working full time, and that means we don't have to work stupid hours and never see our children - for a single person to earn that kind of money means working insane hours, which takes its toll on family life. It is not reasonable to blame people for wanting some sort of work-life balance, especially in a time where the pay differential between the top and bottom in a company is larger than it has ever been.

niceguy2 Wed 02-Jan-13 19:30:36

It's pointless doing the sums for hypothetical situations to fit your argument. You'll always find an example which 'proves' £50k isn't a lot and someone will come along with another example which 'proves' it is.

The simple fact of the matter is that this is a free market country. And as such wages are based upon what people are willing to work for. So it's not the government's fault or responsibility if a person is working NMW cleaning toilets. If they WANT a better job then they are responsible for making that happen. It's not up to the employer or the government to pay them the salary they think they should earn.

What's happened is tax credits have tilted the playing field towards part time workers which has benefited employers and of course the part time workers. Those who have lost out are the taxpayers who are working full time and those now looking for full time work but cannot find it.

Xenia Wed 02-Jan-13 20:07:41

I don't think life is about what is reasonable. There is no money for the benefits system we have had whether people like it or not and whatever their moral or political position.

I never blame anyone for choosing not to work if work does not pay. Nor do I blame anyone for spreading income between husband and wife to reduce tax - tax avoidance. Tax avoidance is fine too. As long as you obey the law you should not be castigated.

What needs to change is the law to make work play and IDS is trying to do this. Whether it will work remains to be seen. I think the aim is to try to make more people work full time and be better off if they work full time. That obviously feels a lot fairer for those of us who have worked for 30 years full time whilst having babies.

"Xenia since you seem to like doing the sums - can you do them for a cleaner working full time for NMW - who will be getting some benefits? And then can you make the moral argument that people like this, who do essential work that someone has to do, should not get help to reach an acceptable standard of living? That to my mind is the biggest problem with IDS - he seems to believe that if someone does not earn a high wage, that is somehow their fault for not trying harder/not having done well in school/whatever."

I don't think you can say IDS has ever said he blames people who earn low wages ever. In fact I have heard him on the radio saying most people are out of work for about a year and then find work again (which is true) and the aim is to have a safety net for them. You might disagree with his policies but I don't think he has some cunning plan deliberately to damage the poor but he does want to make work pay as do most people in the UK. In fact you could say his plan is rubbish as it is going to cost so much money which we simply do not have and instead they need much more radical cuts but none of the parties are prepared to make proper cuts sadly .

If you are a free market person and we remove the minimum wage there will come a floor point below which no one will do the work and that is what helps the low paid not making them all benefits claimants getting housing benefit and tax credits. Therein has lied our folly the price for which we now pay. We never let the free market prevail and look at the mess it got us into.

MurderOfGoths Wed 02-Jan-13 20:13:47

"If you are a free market person and we remove the minimum wage there will come a floor point below which no one will do the work and that is what helps the low paid"

Ah yes, because that worked well before the NMW was introduced.

Jellykat Wed 02-Jan-13 20:16:33

Someone has to clean the toilets, and fair play to them for doing the part time job as opposed to sitting on their arse all day.
There's another way of looking at the part time worker situation - sometimes its all you can get! Not every available job is based on full time hours.
For the vast majority, part time is better then nothing, it's a possible way in, some experience to plop on your CV, etc plus for many lone parents it fits in with school hours, and don't offer up 'after school' clubs etc, around here they don't exist.

Tax Credits are essential for topping up, however when UC comes in, part time workers won't qualify unless they happen to find other part time work which fits in with an existing job, and lets face it, that's quite unlikely! Especially as travelling to and from all these bits of part time work won't be taken into account either.

Think of all the part time workers - office cleaners, pub staff, waiters, school lunch hour supervisors, retail staff etc, a lot of those workers will be up shit creek when UC comes in, and if they have to leave existing work because it means they no longer qualify for benefits, 1000s of full time opportunities will not miraculously appear for them.

MurderOfGoths Wed 02-Jan-13 20:23:48

Fuck, didn't realise part time workers wont qualify for UC. I was hoping to get back to work, but doubt I could manage full time work just yet without ending up unable to move again. sad I figured it'd make more sense to ease myself back in to work, baby steps and all that, and give my body a chance. I can hardly afford to get less money, we barely break even every month as it is.

pointedlynoresolutions Wed 02-Jan-13 20:29:40

We never let the free market prevail and look at the mess it got us into.

Right - the free market that works so well in the US, the free market that works so fabulously in countries like India where they have a space programme but also an enormous proportion of starving people.

Pure free market economics do not work, because people are greedy and selfish.
Pure communism does not work, because people are greedy and selfish.
Any ideology followed through to its purest forms brings about unacceptable human misery. We need a strong economy to rein in the potential excesses of the state, and we need a strong state to rein in the potential excesses of business. Where the balance lies is a matter of trial and error - I think the Scandinavian economies have it about right, and yes, I do know that they are a lot more market driven than people give them credit for.

Minimammoth Wed 02-Jan-13 20:38:14

This may not be the theme of this thread, but it seems a good place to express concern about people being assessed as fit for work who are clearly not, in some cases downright lies are being put onto the assessment forms. Appeals are complex and require mental toughness and a computer. There may be no money for benefits, but how are these people expected to live? There are no jobs for able bodied, never mind those who are weaker. As the original post said the dead don't claim benefits. Many are committing suicide. I bloody hate this government.
Rant over.

ssd Wed 02-Jan-13 20:41:37

niceguy, this just isnt true

"Case in point is my friend who has been offered more hours but has worked out that financially it's not worth it because of tax credits. From what I've read, she's far from alone"

I earn minimum wage and get tax credits...if I earn another £6.19 an hour I lose £2 in tax I still gain by £4.....

so all this getting tax credits encourages people to work less hours is nonsense

working more hours is always worth it even if you get tax credits

edam Wed 02-Jan-13 20:43:08

Quite, Mini. Killing people off is a. incredibly cruel and b. economically self-defeating as well. You end up with widows/orphans who struggle.

Ian Duncan Smith was dumped as Tory leader because he was crap. Yet somehow he's now posing as the new messiah? Also a bit rich for MPs to start lecturing the poor about morality - these would be the same MPs who had their snouts in the trough for decades...

edam Wed 02-Jan-13 20:44:32

The main slice of the benefits bill goes on the elderly. Oddly enough government ministers never attack the elderly in public... could that possibly be because the elderly are more likely to vote than the young? hmm

ssd Wed 02-Jan-13 20:44:50

who says part time workers wont qualify for UC

Minimammoth Wed 02-Jan-13 20:46:45

Well we've got food banks it'll be the workhouse next.

MiniTheMinx Wed 02-Jan-13 20:57:26

I agree that the impoverished state can not afford to continue subsidising the private sector through benefits to workers. There has been a problem with a minority of people actively choosing part time over full time. But people forget the effect of women entering the work force, (I work, so don't think I advocate that women shouldn't work)

What interests me most is why the state is so impoverished. There is a link between unfettered capitalism and the need to shrink the state. Which came first? Was there an intention to impoverish the state and strip away welfare and to what end?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: