Radio Sandwell Local News

Benefits Street proves Government is right to cut welfare

2014-01-14 17:47:17

Ian Duncan Smith

Controversial documentary Benefits Street proves the Government is right to cut benefits, according to the Cabinet Minister responsible.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said viewers were shocked by what they saw on Benefits Street, the Channel 4 programme revealing the lives of residents on James Turner Street, in Winson Green, Birmingham.

Ian Duncan SmithWork and pensions secretary, Ian Duncan

Speaking in the House of Commons, he said the programme proved that the present Government was right to clamp down on "abuses" in the system.

Mr Duncan Smith was asked if he had watched the show by backbench Tory Philip Davies, who added: "If so, has he, like me, been struck by the number of people on them who manage to combine complaining about welfare reform with being able to afford to buy copious amounts of cigarettes, have lots of tattoos, and watch Sky TV on the obligatory widescreen television?

"Does he understand the concerns and irritation of many people who go to work every day and pay their taxes but cannot afford those kinds of luxuries?"

Mr Duncan Smith told him: "My honourable friend is right: many people are shocked by what they see.

"That is why the public back our welfare reform package, which will get more people back to work and end these abuses. All these abuses date back to the last Government, who had massive spending and trapped people in benefit dependency."

The Work and Pensions Secretary also told the Commons he was thinking of reducing the £26,000 limit on benefits which any household can receive.

So far, 860 households in Birmingham have had benefits cut because they were over the limit, as have 147 in Dudley, 162 in Wasall and 211 in Sandwell.

Benefits Street was condemned by London Labour MP John McDonnell, who said: "This Government decided that the poorest in our society would pay. To enable that to happen there had to be some form of ideological attack on the poorest - the latest example is the programme 'Benefits Street'."

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