Work and Pensions chief ‘welcomes’ spiralling charity use
WORK and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said yesterday he “welcomes food banks,” while denying that his welfare cuts have created the need for them by dropping hundreds of thousands of children into poverty.
He made the comment in response to Labour MP David Winnick, who said some Tory Party MPs have no idea about the extent of poverty in their constituencies during a Commons debate.
Mr Duncan Smith replied: “I welcome foodbanks. I welcome decent people in society trying to help others who may, for various reasons, have fallen into difficulty.
“I don’t accept the single cause of that is to do with the welfare reforms, quite the contrary.”
The millionaire MP’s denials came just hours after a report published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies showing “little or no change in poverty rates” — pouring cold water on Tory promises to eradicate child poverty by 2020.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s small wonder that Iain Duncan Smith is a fan of foodbanks — his polices are keeping them in business.
“If he spent more time visiting foodbanks he would see for himself that many users are in work, as well those punished by his cruel sanctions regime.”
Around 9.6 million people, including four million children, remain in absolute or relative poverty — the latter calculated as living on up to 60 per cent of the average wage.
Half a million more youngsters have suffered severe hardship since the Conservatives wangled their way into power in 2010.
At least 200,000 more were pushed into living in serious destitution this year alone, according to The Children’s Society.
And the figures are expected to worsen following the publishing of Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to slash a further £12 billion from welfare, including the removal of tax credits for low-paid workers.
The Child Poverty Action Group said 64 per cent of poor children are from working families, up 55 per cent since the start of the Tory regime in 2010, despite a much-touted rise in employment rates.
Ms O’Grady added: “Slashing tax credits for the working poor will only make things worse.
“The extreme cuts to tax credits the government is planning for working families will do nothing to raise wages and will leave low-paid families even worse off.”