Iain Duncan Smith

Big words,thin ice. IDS on worklessness and social housing.

More detail than anyone is likely to want on why Iain Duncan Smith's claims to be 'breaking up 'shameless' housing estates' are about as well-founded as you might expect. In the spirit of scrupulous fairness I've looked at two possible data sources- see the update to the article for the second. On balance I now think Mr Duncan Smith is probably guilty of confirmation bias rather than of deliberately selecting the stats to make his case, so please read the update as well as the article.

IDS is spinning against his own department

From the BBC news website: 'The number of households that will be affected by a new £500 a week benefit cap has fallen by over a quarter, the Department for Work and Pensions says.The government initially estimated that 56,000 households would see their benefits reduced by the policy, losing on average around £93 per week.It now expects 40,000 households to be affected.
The department said the change came as more people sought help to get into work.'

See what they did there?

A spokesman for Iain Duncan Smith has accused Sarah Teather, the LibDem MP for Brent Central, of being 'hugely misinformed' about the government's benefit cap policy, which she criticised in an interview in today's Observer http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/nov/17/benefit-cap-immoral-sarah-... . The spokesman goes on to say: 'It's not fair or right that benefits claimants receive higher incomes than hard-working families who are striving to get on in life.'

Don't start me talking.......

You know what it's like. You're sitting there quietly minding you own business when two men of a certain age start holding forth about something they obviously know nothing about. You try to ignore it: it's none of your business. But the voices get louder and louder as they become more passionate in their uninformed conviction. The first lines of 'Oliver's Army' are repeating themselves in your head:

'Don't start me talking/I could talk all night/ My mind goes sleepwalking/While I'm putting the world to right'.

Visualising intergenerational workless households with dependent children

Left-click to enlarge image.

“Our recent *Housing Poverty* report concluded that Britain’s social housing estates, once stepping stones of opportunity, are now ghettos for our poorest people. Life expectancy on some estates, where often three generations of the same family have never worked, is lower than the Gaza Strip” – Iain Duncan Smith MP (2009)