Iain Duncan Smith is proud of getting people off benefits

IDS - "We've heard enough of you"
IDS - "We've heard enough of you"
“We’ve heard enough from you.”

Owen Jones confronted Iain Duncan Smith with the names of two people who have died as a result of the work capability assessment. He did not react well. I urge you to watch this video of the last part of Question Time, particularly the last minute if you want to see what IDS is really like.

“Hang on a second, we’ve heard a lot from you. Let me tell you something. I didn’t hear you screaming about two and a half million people who are parked, nobody saw them for over ten years, not working, with no hope, no aspiration, we are changing their lives, I am proud of doing that, getting them off benefit is what we are going to do.”

Iain Duncan Smith is proud of getting people off benefits. Never mind that there is no work for them to go to even if they can, and that the way lives are being changed is by sending people further into poverty and homelessness. Not only that, but he thinks that being “parked on benefits” and left alone is a bad thing. Well those of us on permanent sickness and disability benefits do have hopes and aspirations. We hope to not have too much pain today and we aspire to getting the care that we need so that we can undertake something entertaining that isn’t lying in bed waiting to die. We probably don’t aspire to being a rich Tory, which is probably similar to being dead in the head of Iain Duncan Smith. As for nobody seeing sick people, now they are being reassessed so frequently that they are committing suicide. Winning an appeal at tribunal often leads to an immediate call to another assessment.


Dead people don't get benefits
Dead people don’t get benefits – cartoon by @dochackenbush

Further Reading

Brian Mcardle: Atos benefits bullies killed my sick dad, says devastated Kieran, 13

Karen Sherlock: How many more disabled people will die frightened that their benefits will be taken away?

Karen’s Story – RIP Karen Sherlock, Disability Rights Campaigner – Died June 8th 2012

Hundreds more: The People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment


Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

23 thoughts on “Iain Duncan Smith is proud of getting people off benefits”

  1. Hello! I follow you on twitter and just want to make an observation based in this post and your tweets. It definitely isn’t meant as an insult (but my poor writing skills might make it come across as one!) and I have a lot of respect for you and people like you who have to deal with health problems. The observation is that the reason the tories are on a bender against benefit claimers is because the media has made most people assume that if you claim benefits, you’re faking it and you’re just lazy, and forget about the people who genuinely need it. In my opinion, instead of attacking the tories for one thing in many they should be attacked for, awareness of people who claim benefits because they need to should be raised, so that public opinion changes. This means the government will start changing their attitude, because how else are they going to get re-elected into comfort?! Just an observation. Keep up the good work!

    1. Myself and others have tried repeatedly and continuously to raise awareness of the reality of benefit claims but combating the media narrative is very difficult. However there is significant evidence that government ministers and their staff are fuelling the media hype against those on benefits, to the extent that select committees have warned them to stop doing so.

    1. No mate, the only way out is to fight back as hard and as fast as you can. I’ve had my dark days in the last 5 years, but I always got up and fought back. Please do not let the bastards grind you down. it is what they want!!

  2. Well said Owen Jones but a shame he was cut short by IDS’s bullshit. These audiences are prepped to applaud at specific moments. That’s been the case in most countries since way back when. There is no freedom of expression or choice in front of a TV camera, everything’s edited, especially at the beeb. No such thing as live TV.

    Multi Millionaire Meaden, makes me sick.

    I want to see Smiffys head on a pike.

    1. I was in the audience for question time recently and I can assure you that the audience are not told when to applaud at all. Neither is the programme usually edited, it is recorded in one take and broadcast as recorded. That said, it was edited this time to cut the part where a protester was removed.
      The bias is in the panel selection and in the choice of questions.
      I wrote up my experience. http://www.latentexistence.me.uk/my-question-time-experience/#comments

  3. what he’s done there, that IDS – is confuse pride with hubris… the devastation that his ‘reforms’ is going to wreak is going to keep the Tories out of power for generations – but leave a mess that will take decades to clean up.

  4. Labour
    / DWP were initially ! relatively ! benign ….people were told you’ll
    be left alone i.e. you won’t be harassed in reality …also they worked
    on a worst day basis ….there was some ! good will / trust if you’d
    medical evidence to back up claims ….i.e. we won’t make trouble for
    you ….if you don’t …basically if you cooperated / engaged with the
    outside agency like say Shaw Trust …( for those that the DWP / JCP+
    didn’t really know what to do with ) and tried to get supported
    permitted work …….if people made trouble it was for #ATOS

    Labour went wrong was with the Blairite ultras like Hutton and Purnell
    and Trojan horses like Lord Fraud ….they thought they’d outflanked the
    Tories ….the justification was swing voters in say 100 seats and the
    relentless pressure from the Tory tabloids .

    reality they didn’t outflank the Tories …like most authoritarians the
    Tories saw the weaknesses and ruthlessly exploited them in a bombastic
    and vindictive manner taking things to unprecedented extremes .

    Even Goebbels Grayling admitted there should be common sense with all these imbecilic reassessments .

    like #ATOS are solely concerned with profit …it’s in their interests
    to do reassessments ….arrogating state functions to themselves …is a
    extreme form of corporatism with no accountability & responsibility
    but that’s exactly what a plutocrat / kleptocrat like Cameron wants for
    ideological reasons …..Fascist Italy under Mussolini comes to mind
    ….there are fine lines that can easily be crossed.

    will be also pressure to create false statistics within the DWP to
    impress their masters …very poor senior macro and micro management .

    Tory scroungers / fraudsters rhetoric was by the Telegraphs admittance
    based on ” anecdotal evidence ” ….it’s what politicians do , try and
    create problems and attempt with the emphasis on try to solve them
    ….the reality was the fraud was very low ….the criteria thanks to
    the outlawed elsewhere UNUM and the private insurance industry was
    deliberately the highest in Europe ………..what the likes of Cameron
    want is spivy cowboy bounty hunting firms to take over from the DWP as
    apparently ! the DWP can’t cope .

    #ATOS assessments are farcical shams …nothing to do with the real
    work whatsoever …in any case there’s too many able bodied people
    chasing vacancies due to high unemployment .

    35 out of 1000 + Remploy workers made redundant have obtained work
    …shameful hypocritical and falling on it’s own inherent contradictions

    has stated he was categorically against real world assessments , in the
    right wing land of the free over the pond , you have to pass a real
    world test .

    may be something to do with UNUM ( formerly the outlawed UNUM Provident
    ) being outlawed due to a class action ….#ATOS use ” remarkably
    similar ” illegal insurance industry definitions and methods .

  5. His mention of hope and aspiration clearly demonstrates that he is talking about getting people into work. The current system is a mess, it really is.

    In that statement he’s not talking at all about sickness benefit. They’re also not covered by the benefit cap. It’s also widely perceived that Labour did make it easier for people just to go on Incapacity Benefit and take them off of the unemployment figures (people on sickness benefit don’t count as they are considered as being outside the labour market), rather than helping them to find employment in the long run where it is possible.

    The thing is, the more false accusations are thrown around and names shouted at people, the less they are going to listen to legitimate concerns. As soon as you resort to that kind of stuff, your genuine frustrations and outrages will be dismissed as someone who just wants to be fashionable and wants to regurgitate stuff about Thatcher, etc. I don’t know your circumstances and the struggles you’ve been through, but I’m sure that the people in power don’t look to make things harder, they are just often (wilfully or otherwise) ignorant about the issues faced by people on the ground. That’s why it’s important people articulate these clearly. It’s a shame there wasn’t more time for IDS to be pushed on the points Owen raised as those kinds of things occurring really aren’t acceptable.

    Best wishes

    1. Well, the context of the discussion was sickness benefits (admittedly among other things). Labour are the ones who started making sickness benefits harder to get – the classic period that most people accept there was a deliberate effort to get people off unemployment onto incapacity was under the last Conservative government. So if you’re right about what’s “widely perceived”, then that perception is wrong.

      They really do want to make things harder for people on sickness benefits – to increase the incentives to find work nonetheless.

  6. Changing lives – True – But he doesn’t mention that the change is for the worse.

    Getting them off benefits – Also true – But he doesn’t mention that in coming off benefits they are going onto handouts from family and friends, poverty or death.

    And as for those magical one or two who may have found work – how many are actually “better off”, not just financially but their health?

    I’d like to see the figure on this!

  7. David Dimleby on Question Time is showing what a strong supporter of the tory’s he is week by week. He shuts the others up but lets the tory’s say what they want.

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