Iain Duncan Smith vowed to give Britain’s poor another dose of his sickening cuts medicine yesterday – by claiming it was curing unemployment.
The Tory Work and Pensions Secretary insisted slashing benefits is driving those “hardest to help” back into work and putting Britain “on the path to a more productive future.”
Panicked by the prospect of being booted out of office next May, he also signalled his intention to rush through as many welfare cuts as possible.
His boasts were undermined though as a charity he threatened to shut down revealed that cuts have helped spark a surge in people turning to loan sharks and foodbanks.
A Trussell Trust survey of 4,000 adults showed that more than one in ten had taken out a high-interest pay day loan last year.
That “alarming” rise coincided with a 163 per cent increase in the number of cash-strapped families turning to the charity for a week’s supply of emergency food.
Mr Duncan Smith had defended his relentless attack on what he called a “dysfunctional welfare system” in his central London speech.
He said it was “no kindness to park people on benefits” and dubbed his household benefit cap as “one of our most important changes in terms of its cultural impact and the message it sends out.”
But Trussell Trust chief executive David McAuley said yesterday that it was “high prices, static incomes, problems with benefits and harsh welfare sanctioning” forcing people into poverty.
He said: “It’s deeply concerning that the basics of dignified life in modern Britain - food, heat and electricity - can fall out of reach for so many.”
The charity, which runs 400 foodbanks across Britain, has now been forced to launch a financial advice pilot scheme alongside its foodbank as a result of welfare cuts.
Mr Duncan Smith also took aim at the record of the last Labour government, saying it “tested the socialist view of welfare to destruction.”
Hitting back, shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves pointed out that Britain’s housing benefit bill is set to double by 2018 and Universal Credit is in chaos.
“The Government’s flagship welfare reforms are in chaos,” she said.
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