Welfare changes will make people more responsible, says IDS

6 Oct 15

Conservative reforms to the welfare system are intended to make individuals take responsibility for their own lives, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has told the party’s conference.

Speaking in Manchester today, Duncan Smith said government welfare changes, which include implementation of the Universal Credit, as well as controversial cuts to tax credits and a lower benefit cap, were “about ending poverty, not entrenching it”.

He said reform was needed in order to be fair “to the vast bulk of taxpayers who pay for other people’s welfare while taking responsibility for themselves”.

He added: “That’s what the limit on child tax credit for more than two children is about – bringing home to parents the reality that children cost money and if you have more kids you have to make the choices others make and not assume taxpayers money lets you avoid the consequences of such choices. That’s taking responsibility and that’s fair.

“It’s what the benefits cap is about – people shouldn’t earn more on benefits than people who work do. As a result of the cap, households are more likely to move into work – with more than 16,000 capped households making that choice and moving into work. That’s taking responsibility and that’s fair.”

Duncan Smith added this “sense of fairness” was also why the government needed to undertake reforms to the current regime of disability benefit, which he reiterated the government would look to reform.

Almost half of people receiving employment and support allowance had been in receipt for more than two years, despite a majority saying they would like to work, he highlighted.

“So we look to change the system – and the assumptions that underpin it. “That's why we don’t think of people not in work as victims to be sustained on government handouts. No, we want to help them live lives independent of the state.”

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