Mr welfare reform calls the EU 'a force for social injustice'
Iain Duncan Smith has claimed the European Union is a ‘force for social injustice’ and ‘a friend of the haves rather than the have-nots’.
The former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, campaigning for Brexit in the June 23 EU referendum, said:
‘Today I want to briefly explain why the EU, particularly for the UK has become a force for social injustice and why leaving provides a vital opportunity for us to be able to develop policies that will protect the people who often find themselves at the sharp end of global economic forces and technological change.
My plea to better off Britons who have done well in recent years is to consider using their vote in the referendum to vote for a better deal for people who haven’t enjoyed the same benefits as them.
Because the EU, despite its grand early intentions, has become a friend of the haves rather than the have-nots.’
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) May 10, 2016
You might remember Iain Duncan Smith from such policies as:
- The Bedroom Tax – which cuts housing benefit for people living in public housing who have a ‘spare room’, supposedly to make them move to smaller homes, (despite the lack of affordable housing). 76 per cent affected were forced to cut back on food.
- Punitive sanctions for benefit claimants and cuts to their support. The Work and Pensions Committee has said the sanctions were ‘contributing to food poverty’.
- Disability support ‘reform’ whereby private companies test disabled people and cut their support if they are deemed ‘fit to work’.
- Cutting tax credits for low-income workers. The policy was defeated in the House of Lords and then watered-down by the government.
- Universal Credit – replacing all benefits with a chaotic back-of-the-envelope system repeatedly found to leave millions worse off.
At the same time as he introduced and advocated these policies, Duncan Smith voted:
- for cuts to local council funding
- for reducing welfare spending
- against raising taxes on those earning above £150,000
- against a bankers’ bonus tax
- for restricting trade union rights
With a record like this, Duncan Smith’s intervention today could be summarised as: ‘How dare the EU punish the vulnerable. That’s my job!’ (or was until he resigned in March).
On his central claim today that migration drives down wages in Britain, the London School of Economics has found ‘little evidence of a strong correlation between changes in wages of the UK-born (either all or just the less skilled) and changes in local area immigrant share over this period’.
Industries where migrants are likely to work follow the same employment trends as the rest of the economy, regardless of immigration levels. Overall, immigration has a net zero effect on the UK economy either way.
And on housing, Duncan Smith voted for expanding ‘right-to-buy’, which has seen 40 per cent of social housing bought by tenants rented out as private housing, shrinking the amount of public housing available for people, regardless of where they were born.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.