Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith proposes reforms to the UK welfare state

Dina sent me this exciting article from the UK Daily Mail about our favorite conservative MP.


Jobless couples with more than two children should have benefit payments limited, Iain Duncan Smith suggested yesterday.

The Work and Pensions Secretary said there were ‘large numbers’ of couples on welfare having big families – unlike middle-income parents who had to weigh up if they could afford to have another child.

Mr Duncan Smith condemned the ‘madness’ of the state subsidising large workless families – saying it would be fairer to the ‘vast majority’ of responsible taxpayers if benefits were limited to the first two children in future.

He has agreed to find another £10billion in welfare savings by 2016, having already slashed £18billion from a vast budget that grew by 60 per cent under Labour.

As well as cuts to child benefit and tax credits for large workless families, he suggested housing benefit could be stripped for those who expected to go straight from school on to welfare and a state-subsidised house.

[…]He [insisted] the real cruelty was leaving people languishing on welfare for years. ‘We have accepted for far too long in this country that it is possible for people to just stay on benefits,’ he said. ‘It is all about saying, we will give you massive support to find work… But also, we have an expectation, as the taxpayer pays for these bills, that you try your hardest to find work.’

Most controversially, Mr Duncan Smith suggested the present system encouraged poorer families to have large numbers of children without worrying about the cost.

‘When you look at families across the board, at all incomes, you find the vast, vast majority make decisions about the kind of numbers of children they have, the families they want, based on what they think they can afford,’ he said.

‘Where you see the clustering of the large families is really down at the very lowest incomes, those on significant levels of welfare, and those on the very top incomes. In other words, the problem for those who are paying the taxes, paying the bills – they make the decisions about their lives, even if they sometimes would like to maybe have extra children, they make decisions.

‘People who are having support through welfare are often free from that decision. We want to support people if they have children when they are out of work, of course.

‘But can there not be a limit to the fact that really you need to remember you need to cut your cloth in accordance with what capabilities and what finances you have?’

The UK Telegraph added:

Official figures show that 120,000 of the most troubled and difficult families cost the taxpayer about £9 billion a year. Every household is now spending the equivalent of £3,000 a year in tax for welfare payments.

There are about one in five households where no one works and 1.5 million children are growing up with a parent addicted to drugs or alcohol.

[…]Mr Duncan Smith will say that the poor use of government money in recent times has led to people being “written off”.

“Our failure to make each pound count has cost us again and again over the years, Not only in terms of a financial cost – higher taxes, inflated welfare bills and lower productivity, as people sit on benefits long term. But also the social cost of a fundamentally divided Britain – one in which a section of society has been left behind. We must no longer allow ourselves to accept that some people are written off.”

[…]The Liberal Democrats are threatening to block further cuts in benefits unless the Coalition also introduces new taxes on the rich.

The article notes that members of the British socialist party (the Labor Party) British communist party (the Liberal Democrats) oppose the cuts to welfare. Of course! That’s how they get their votes – by redistributing money from working people to many more people who don’t work.

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