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Iain Duncan Smith dismisses cuts victims' suffering

Promoted McVey hails 'great work this government has done'

Sneering Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith angered Labour MPs in the Commons yesterday by accusing them of "carping" about the government's huge welfare cuts.

Mr Duncan-Smith was bombarded with protests about the cruel bedroom tax and the failing work programme, but he simply told Labour members to get "back into reality."

He brazenly boasted that the government was slashing the welfare bill by over £80 billion.

And he contemptuously dismissed criticism of the bedroom tax by Brazilian UN special
rapporteur Raquel Rolnik.

He said she was a "strange woman" and accused Labour of indulging in "little gimmicks with people from Brazil."

Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper protested that 93 per cent of disabled people on the work programme were simply failing to find work.

"The government's record on disability employment is simply a disgrace," she declared.

Oldham East MP Debbie Abrahams reminded the minister that he had been warned twice by the chair of the UK Statistics Authority for making "misleading if not false claims" about the results of his welfare reforms.

Newly promoted work and pensions minister Esther McVey made a ridiculous attempt to rescue her boss from the Labour attack by urging all MPs to "celebrate the great work this government has done."

She claimed that by June of this year there had been a "dramatic increase" to 168,000 in the number of people who had found "lasting work" under the government's work programme.

Ms McVey said that 1,326 disabled former Remploy workers were engaging with personal case workers and that 535 were now in work. A further 393 were in training.

Labour shadow minister Chris Bryant taunted ministers by asking whether the bedroom tax was "perniciously cruel or utterly incompetent."

New shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves played only a small part in the fight, concentrating on the government's problems with rolling out the new universal credit.

She questioned how many people would actually be claiming universal credit by April 2014.

New jobseekers will have to sign a commitment from this week setting out their efforts to find work - or risk losing their benefit. The Claimant Commitment is being introduced in around 100 jobcentres a month.


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