Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

IDS: Welfare reforms misrepresented

Iain Duncan Smith says the Government's welfare reforms are driven by a desire to change people's lives for the better

Opponents of the Government's welfare reforms are doing all they can to misrepresent them, according to a minister.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith will tell a conference today that the reforms are being driven by a desire to change people's lives for the better.

Speaking after new figures showed a fall in unemployment, and an increase in the number of people in work to more than 30 million, Mr Duncan Smith will emphasise the scale of the task the Government has set.

He is expected to say at the Centre for Social Justice event in London: "Our real success has been to reframe the argument - challenging a narrative beloved of the left, which focuses so exclusively on how much is being spent on welfare that it risks overlooking the real question ... that it is not about how much goes into the benefit system, but what difference it makes to people at the other end.

"The task that we have set out to achieve is hardly a small undertaking. It is not easy, as those arrayed against us do all they can to misrepresent what we are doing, angling for a return to the failed and expensive policies of the past, when success was measured by the amount of money you spent, not the lives you improved.

"The purpose for Government is not grand but simple. It is that through our economic and welfare changes we will have helped people feel that bit more secure about their futures ... feel more hopeful about their children's lives ... and rekindle their pride in their communities, as their neighbours also begin to thrive."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Iain Duncan Smith's claim to have made people feel more secure through his cuts to the welfare safety net is ridiculous.

"Across the country people fear the bedroom tax, and harsh and unfair disability assessments. They are also worried that however hard they have worked and contributed, they will soon be made to wait five weeks before receiving any benefit if they lose their job.

"The truth is that welfare fraud has just gone up, while millions of hard-working families have suffered from tax credit cuts and the child benefit freeze, and a whole new generation now fear future cuts to help for young people."

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