Tag Archives: Iain Duncan Smith

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.

Excerpt:

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.

Two British conservatives to watch: Iain Duncan-Smith and Michael Gove

Here’s an article from the UK Telegraph about Iain Duncan-Smith.

Excerpt:

I’ve known Iain for many years since my days working for Lady Thatcher back when he was party leader. Few British politicians understand the Special Relationship as well as IDS, and he has made a concerted effort to cultivate ties with leaders in the United States, frequently visiting Washington over the past decade both in opposition and in government.

It was refreshing to see a British official showing leadership on an issue that few Washington politicians have seriously addressed since the reforms of the 1990s. His message was a compelling one – that Britain (and for that matter the West as a whole) is facing up to the biggest cultural challenge of the early 21st Century – dealing with “entrenched and intergenerational worklessness and welfare dependency.” In his speech he attacked “an obsession with inputs – with pouring money into social programmes so that governments are seen to be doing something,” a sentiment that tens of millions of Americans would heartily agree with:

So we are now faced with a fundamental challenge. Levels of social breakdown high and rising. Millions of people stuck out of work on benefits. Millions not saving nearly enough for their retirement. And politicians – of all hues – addicted to spending levels as a measurement of success, rather than life change as a measurement of success.

These are areas ripe for reform – but how do you reform when there is no money? The answer – you change the way you reform. Not just cheese-slicing, but recalibrating whole systems so that you change behaviours, and change the culture that allowed spending to get out of control in the first place.

With good reason IDS consistently ranks at the top of ConservativeHome’s poll of cabinet ministers, with an approval rating in the latest survey of 84 per cent. Together with Michael Gove (who currently ranks second), he has been the most consistently impressive minister in Cameron’s government. It is not hard to see why he is so popular with the grassroots. Duncan Smith is a conviction politician offering clear-cut conservative solutions to major problems, emphasising individual responsibility, a strong work ethic, and traditional values as opposed to big government meddling. His welfare reforms are a major step in the right direction, and the most radical since the system’s creation in the 1940s. They deserve widespread support, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Iain Duncan-Smith stands for pro-family policies and welfare reform. What does Michael Gove stand for?

Here’s an article about him in the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Dina)

Excerpt:

One Cabinet minister is increasingly standing apart from the crowd. Yesterday, this newspaper revealed that Education Secretary Michael Gove wants to bring back O-level-style exams.

Although this brave proposal is popular with parents across England, it is not uncontroversial. It takes us back to a system that separated academically gifted children from those with different aptitudes.

But I would argue that the abolition of O-levels in the Eighties was actually an early sign of the culture of dishonesty in our national life.

Britain fell into the grip of a dishonest kindness. We started to hand out good exam results like sweeties — regardless of whether pupils had really learnt anything at school.

We told ourselves that it didn’t matter whether parents spent their time working with their children or just letting them lounge in front of the TV.

We allowed school-leavers to think that a life on benefits was socially acceptable when it’s actually a place where they would easily rot and never fulfil their potential.

The statistics that poured out of the schools system suggested that all was well, however.

Like tractor production data from the old Soviet Union the latest exam grades were always better than last summer’s.

We were told to rejoice but employers and universities saw through the big lie. They complained that the children graduating from Britain’s schools lacked basic literacy and numeracy skills. Britain started sliding down the international league tables that compared the abilities of children in China, Germany, Korea and Britain.

Michael Gove is the first Education Secretary to say that enough is enough. He has said he’s not afraid to preside over a drop in exam grades. They’ll look less good, he concedes, but they’ll be more honest.

The teaching unions that have presided over the ‘All Must Have Prizes’ system will fight him tooth and nail. They want to protect their jobs-for-life regime where bad teachers are rarely sacked but are instead allowed to damage countless pupils’ life chances, year after year.

Gove is undeterred. He’s ready to close down a system where children who can’t manage their times tables are studying for exactly the same exams as those who are on track to study physics at Oxbridge.

[…]The compassionate politician who cares about equality of opportunity won’t accept this status quo, and will point out that the current system is dishonest. It puts children with very different abilities through the same sausage machine and then pretends that those who get ‘F’ or ‘G’ grades have still passed.

Michael Gove wants academically gifted children to be stretched by studying O-levels.

He wants other children to have a more appropriate educational experience, albeit an equally rigorous and demanding one.

This Government’s investment in high-quality apprenticeships and a new generation of technical colleges is early proof that it is serious about restoring the standing of vocational education.

Michael Gove’s specialty is education reform – he wants to stop the left from bashing kids into the same mold, regardless of their individual abilities and aptitudes.

Those are the two guys to watch. They’re not perfect, but they are the two best in the UK, in my opinion.

Iain Duncan Smith’s defense of traditional marriage in the UK

Dina sent me this article from the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Iain Duncan Smith will make the Coalition’s most explicit official statement in favour of parents marrying and staying together.

He will say that children from such homes are most likely to end up with a good education and a job.

The Work and Pensions Secretary will make the declaration as he announces an Early Intervention Foundation to raise millions of pounds from private investors to help disadvantaged children.

The Social Justice Strategy Paper will set out plans to tackle the causes of poverty and disadvantage.

It makes clear that the stability of parents’ relationships is a key factor in children’s prospects.

Marriage is particularly good for children, the paper says. The Government is “concerned” by the long-term trend away from marriage, it says.

Mr Duncan Smith will say the strategy marks a change in the approach to marriage. Successive governments have done too little to promote stable families, he will say.

Mr Duncan Smith has had a long personal interest in family issues but the main paper he will publish today constitutes a government commitment to promote marriage.

The command paper quotes evidence showing that “children tend to enjoy better life outcomes when the same two parents give them support and protection”.

Children who have experienced the breakdown of their parents’ relationship are “more likely to have poor cognitive development and education and employment outcomes than those who have lived with both birth parents”.

“Outcomes” are better for children when parents stay together, the paper says. Research shows that about one in three cohabiting couples splits up before a child’s fifth birthday, compared with one in 10 married couples.

“This Government believes marriage often provides an excellent environment in which to bring up children,” it says. “The Government is clear that marriage should be supported.”

Mr Duncan Smith said he was not “lecturing” parents on how to live, merely setting out the facts on the advantages of marriage and commitment.

I keep expecting to hear more statements like this from thoughtful conservatives here and abroad. There are so many conservatives, but very few of them are willing to make a case for marriage using the evidence.

UK Liberal Democrats oppose tax breaks for getting married and staying married

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

 In a speech designed to reassert the Liberal Democrats’ voice in government, the embattled Deputy Prime Minister will also set out his vision of an “Open Society” — in direct contrast to the Big Society trumpeted by David Cameron, the Prime Minister.

Tax breaks for married couples are a key demand of the Tory faithful and Mr Cameron has committed to their introduction before the next election. The issue has the potential to become a major source of friction within the Coalition in the New Year.

As Mr Clegg delivers his speech in Westminster on Sunday, a number of Tory MPs will meet David Gauke, the Treasury minister, to press the government to introduce the tax break for married couples as soon as possible. It means Mr Clegg is now in open disagreement with the senior Coalition partner on two major areas of policy — the marriage tax break and Europe.

In his speech to Demos, the Left-leaning think tank, Mr Clegg will say: “We should not take a particular version of the family institution, such as the 1950s model of suit-wearing, breadwinning dad and aproned, homemaking mother, and try and preserve it in aspic.

“That’s why Open Society Liberals and Big Society Conservatives will take a different view on a tax break for marriage. We can all agree that strong relationships between parents are important, but not agree that the state should use the tax system to encourage a particular family form.”

[…] Research has suggested that children brought up by two married parents living together are happier, fare better at school and are less likely to become heavily involved in alcohol, crime or drugs.

The Centre for Social Justice [CSJ], a pro-family think tank set up by Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said that just one in 11 married couples separated before their child’s fifth birthday, compared with a third of unmarried couples.

Gavin Poole, its executive director, said: “Nick Clegg’s stance flies in the face of all the evidence, completely ignoring national and international data demonstrating how important marriage is to the health and wellbeing of children and families.”

And this isn’t surprising – Obama has said the same thing about not preferring traditional marriage over other arrangements.

Excerpt:

President Obama has included homosexual couples raising children in a list of “American families” in a recent proclamation declaring Monday National Family Day.

“Whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian,” said Obama in the proclamation, “families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things.”

The president went on to encourage participation in Family Day by sharing an evening meal as a family unit.  “A strong nation is made up of strong families, and on this Family Day, we rededicate ourselves to ensuring that every American family has the chance to build a better, healthier future for themselves and their children,” he said.

The family day proclamation is in keeping with Obama’s oft-professed support for the homosexualist agenda.

When Obama proclaimed June “LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Pride Month,” he reiterated that he supports several issues on the homosexual docket, including homosexual hate crime legislation, homosexual “affirmative action” in the workplace, allowing open homosexuals in the military, and adoption to homosexual couples.

During the same month, Obama signed a presidential memorandum extending spousal benefits to homosexual partners and other unmarried partners of federal employees.

It’s important to realize that the secular left, including our own Democrats here at home, are committed to the destruction of marriage. They support policies like sex education, single mother welfare, no-fault divorce, redefining marriage, and so on. They do not support traditional marriage. And they will oppose and and all incentives given to people who choose to marry and who choose to stay married. They do not care about providing children with a stable environment to grow up in, with a mother and a father who are biologically linked to the children. They would rather have more children growing up in poverty and exposed to violence, neglect and abuse than promote traditional marriage.

The secular left opposes traditional marriage for 2 reasons. First, they do not like the way that traditional marriage tends to lend itself to the man working and the woman staying at home – they want both people to work and pay taxes, so the parents are “equal” and they want the government feed and educate the children instead, so all the children are “equal”. Second, they do want to encourage “healthy attitudes” about sex, so that people who have sex before marriage do not feel guilty about it – since the school has told them that “everyone is doing it”. The left doesn’t want people who decide not to marry to feel bad about sex. They prefer to remove the moral boundaries that protect children.

In fact, if you are a woman, and you vote for the leftists, and you are wondering why you are not married, you should understand that the very policies you vote for are the policies that take away a man’s willingness to marry and his ability to perform the traditional obligations of a husband and father. He has no reason to commit in order to get sex – you’re giving him sex for free. And he has no money to provide for a family – he paid it all to the state in taxes. And he has no ability to lead on moral and spiritual issues – that’s all been beaten out of him in the public schools, where objective morality and theism are frowned on. Think before you vote.

New study finds that cohabitation damages children

Story here from the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Dina)

Excerpt:

The astonishing speed at which traditional family life has collapsed is laid bare today.

Shocking figures reveal that births outside marriage are at their highest level in two centuries and nearly half of children can expect their parents to separate by the time they turn 16.

Nine out of ten couples now live together before – or instead of – tying the knot. Before the Second World War, it was fewer than one in 30.

From a situation 30 years ago where it was often considered shameful to have a child outside of wedlock, it has now become the norm.

Some 46 per cent of children are born to unmarried mothers, according to research by the Centre for Social Justice.

The think-tank said a child growing up in a one-parent family is 75 per cent more likely to fail at school, 70 per cent more likely to become a drug addict, 50 per cent more likely to have an alcohol problem and 35 per cent more likely to be unemployed as an adult.

Some 48 per cent of children are likely to see their family break up before they are 16. Ten years ago, it was 40 per cent.

Gavin Poole, executive director of the CSJ, which was set up by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, said: ‘Current high levels of cohabitation are a key factor in the rise in family breakdown in our country and this paper shows that we have not been here before.

‘Marriage and commitment tend to stabilise and strengthen families and cannot be ignored. The peculiarly high levels of family breakdown found in Britain are at the heart of the social breakdown which is devastating our most deprived communities.

‘We cannot ignore the wealth of evidence showing that the family environment in which a child grows up is key in determining their future life outcomes.’

The report says the decline in the traditional family is a crucial factor in the social decay that is blighting Britain.

It finds that – at around 5 per cent – levels of births outside marriage were the same in the 1950s as in the 1750s.

They remained at low levels through the 19th century and stayed flat until the 1960s. But since then they have soared. By the late 1970s, 10 per cent of babies were born to single or unmarried parents, by 1991 it was 30 per cent and today it is 46 per cent.

The authors of the research point to evidence suggesting that in the 1950s and 1960s, only 1 to 3 per cent of couples cohabited before marriage.

Today, nearly 90 per cent of couples live together before, or instead of, getting married.

Family breakdown, the experts claim, is being fuelled by the growth in the less stable relationship of cohabitation. ‘A child growing up in a fractured, chaotic or fatherless family is far less likely to develop the pro-social skills essential for success later in life,’ Mr Poole said.

The thing to understand about the secular left in Britain is that they are not really against poverty – not if it means telling people to be more responsible and informed about abstinence, courting and marriage. They are willing to “fix” poverty by taking money from one group and giving it to another group. But they are not willing to prevent poverty by holding people accountable to moral standards. That would be so judgmental, divisive and offensive to poor people. And if there is one thing the secular left stands for, it’s not making people feel bad for their own decisions. The secular left would rather have adults doing whatever makes them feel good than to have children grow up healthy and happy in stable environments.

Marriage is the best way to prevent child poverty, so let’s have some policies that promote marriage and discourage cohabitation.

Related posts