In a major speech yesterday Iain Duncan Smith claimed that his welfare benefit changes are ‘fixing society’ and putting Britain on a path to ‘a more contented future’. Without any hint of irony or reference to sanctions, he also claimed that the coalition inherited ‘a dysfunctional welfare system that made life difficult for people at every turn’ and that ‘took money away from people as they tried to do the right thing’ and that this is now changing.{jcomments on}

In his entire speech, IDS made no mention of personal independence payment whatsoever, let alone any apology or explanation for the hardships caused by the year long wait for decisions.

On the work programme he made no mention of the fact that for some groups being on the work programme makes it less rather than more likely that they will find a job.

There was also no mention of employment and support allowance – only sickness benefits – and no reference to the fact that for the first time in many years the number of people in receipt of ESA and incapacity benefit is going up.

On sanctions there was not even an acknowledgement that an independent inquiry had found that sanctioned claimants were not being clearly informed of their right to appeal or to apply for hardship payments. Instead, IDS merely alleged ‘There is a lot of misleading talk about sanctions.’ But did not in any way explain what was misleading or why.

On universal credit IDS refused to acknowledge that the whole project is massively behind schedule, instead claiming that it is ‘Within budget, and exactly as Howard’s plan set out.’

In total, the entire speech admitted to not one single problem with any aspect of welfare reform and claimed credit for every scrap of improvement – or apparent improvement - in the economy.

It was speech given by someone who is either seriously deluded or utterly convinced that if you tell a lie often enough people will believe you.

You can read the entire speech on the polities home website.

You can read a critique of some of the claims in the speech in the Guardian.


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