Nazi Iain Duncan Smith attacks benefit claimants yet again like the slavemaster swine he isby Robert Winnett, theunhivedmind.com
December 1st 2011
Feckless parents would only spend extra benefits on themselves, says Iain Duncan Smith
Giving more money to poor families will not help the issue of child poverty because feckless parents will spend it on themselves, Iain Duncan Smith warned on Thursday night.
The Work and Pensions Secretary said that increasing “benefit income” simply pushes the “family further into dependency” and makes it less likely that their children will ever escape from poverty.
He warned that extra money provided to dysfunctional families may simply be spent on drugs or gambling, rather than on helping children.
Mr Duncan Smith decided to intervene in the debate about child poverty amid growing controversy after decisions taken by George Osborne, the Chancellor, in the Autumn Statement were estimated to push 100,000 extra children into poverty.
Ministers claim that the official measure of poverty – households earning less than 60 per cent of the median income – does not reflect a proper approach to tackling the problem. It is now expected that the Government will change the definition of poverty, a move that might lead to accusations from Labour that ministers are “fixing the figures”.
In a speech at the London School of Economics on Thursday night, Mr Duncan Smith said: “I believe that increased income and increased well-being do not always follow the same track.
“Take a family headed by a drug addict or someone with a gambling addiction – increase the parent’s income and the chances are they will spend the money on furthering their habit, not on their children.
“Or take a family where no one has ever worked. Increase their benefit income – while taking no other proactive action – and you push the family further into dependency, only increasing the chance that their children will follow that same path as an adult.”
The Cabinet minister warned that current measurements of poverty had pushed governments into introducing policies with “perverse incentives”. He said there was an incentive to “move people” to just above the poverty line.
“This has been called the ‘poverty plus a pound’ approach – doing enough to keep the poverty figures moving in the right direction, but without really changing anyone’s lives,” he said.
“We could trade party political points on this, arguing about who has the better strategy to bring the figures down. Or we could have a more forward-thinking debate about how we can do more to promote a life chances approach, and one not so narrowly focused on income alone.”
He indicated that rather than ploughing more funds into benefits and other handouts, government money might be better spent on providing nursery school places and health visitors for disadvantaged households.
Similarly, providing relationship support or help for parents to return to work was likely to pay long-term dividends for their children.
Mr Duncan Smith said: “It may be that this small investment [in relationship counselling] has a huge impact on a number of children’s lives, helping their families stay strong and stable and so providing a safe and loving environment in which to grow up. But forecasting how this will impact on a child’s income in the future is extremely difficult.”
He added: “We need to maintain our vital focus on poverty while establishing much more effective ways of delivering it, and making a real change to families’ life chances.”
Mr Duncan Smith’s aides billed the speech as the “biggest intervention” by a Cabinet minister in the debate about tackling poverty since the election.
However, it is expected to be attacked by Labour who will accuse ministers of seeking to hide the impact of cuts.
Earlier this week Mr Osborne announced that unemployment benefits would rise by 5.2 per cent next year despite tax credits for working people being frozen. This decision penalises working families and appears to run counter to Mr Duncan Smith’s argument against boosting benefits.
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