Benefits can do more harm than good for child poverty because parents ‘will only spend them on drugs or gambling’

On the attack: Iain Duncan Smith says poor families would not necessarily be helped if they are given more money

Higher benefits for poor families could do more harm than good, Iain Duncan Smith claimed last night, as feckless parents will only spend the extra money on themselves.

In an attack on Labour’s child poverty targets, the Work and Pensions Secretary said youngsters’ lives were not necessarily improved by bigger handouts.

He claimed that any extra cash doled out to dysfunctional families may simply be frittered away on drugs and gambling rather than being used to improve the lives of children.

Mr Duncan Smith’s comments come after it was estimated that measures introduced by the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement would push 100,000 more children into poverty.

He criticised Gordon Brown’s measure of poverty – 60 per cent of median earnings – which was enshrined in law in an attempt to abolish child poverty by 2020.

Mr Duncan Smith said this ‘poverty plus a pound’ approach led to hollow claims of success by lifting income over an arbitrary line.

Focusing on tax credits and other measures did little to address fundamental problems, he said.

‘What do we know about the things that really improve wellbeing?’ he asked in a speech at the London School of Economics last night.

‘It’s better health , lower crime and lower fear of crime, work, a strong sense of community.

‘This isn’t to say that money isn’t important. Of course it is. But I do believe increased income and increased wellbeing do not always follow the same track.

‘Take a family headed by a drug addict or someone with a gambling addiction – increase the parent’s income and the chances are they will spend the money on furthering their habit, not on their children.

‘According to the relative income poverty figures they might be above the line, but by any reasonable measure of long-term life chances they would be stuck firmly below.

‘Or take a family where no one has ever worked. Increase their benefit income – while taking no other proactive action – and you push the family further into dependency, only increasing the chance that their child will follow that same path as an adult.

‘So while income is important we should be clear that the source of that income can have very different effects. Income through benefits maintains people on a low income, whereas income gained through work can transform lives.’

Daily Heil

Comments
  • Em Whitfield on Facebook December 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Not once have I spent my benefits on gambling OR drugs! LOL is all I can say to that

  • Michael Caits on Facebook December 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Gambling? Drugs? (presumably) Alcohol? We aren’t the Tory Party or their friends in the City! IDS needs a good kicking! (Just my opinion of course:D )

  • Lesley Holman on Facebook December 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I wonder what colour the sky is on his planet1

  • Rob January 21, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Blue, As its the same as his party, the man is a joke, anyone else catch his interview on the bbc were he said people were not suffering under his reforms. Seriously not suffering, you know I had almost secured a job just before his lot got into power all I had to do was wait until my temp contract came to an end and then sign a new on that had been drawn up, the day his lot came into power and a recruitment freeze comes into place, bye bye job. So not suffering you ignorant arrogant self serving C**T (apologizes for the profanity) in a time when we have increased over seas aid to foreign countries who have their own space programs who corrupt leaders happily pocket the aid, the government has this immense compassion, but when it comes to its own people instead of looking to the top it looks to attack the most vulnerable in society from people with disability to its legalization of slave labour through the work program which actually could work if some minor changes were made to it. Don’t get me wrong there are scroungers we have all seen them at the Job centre, but to label all with that brush is very fair, when every day people are being made homeless are choose to feed their children and not themselves, to get new clothing for the children he can sit their and tell everyone “Its OK no one is suffering its because they never worked and don’t want to, I’m making it so they do”
    Well mister IDS ive worked since I was Sixteen changing job when I had another it was due to this financial crisis and your policies that put me and my family on the welfare line, and your dumb ass policies that make it harder everyday to survive. People are suffering but your party and Labour for that matter don’t want to go against your masters (Big Business, Bankers etc) so were all in this together, biggest lie ever told the truth is you and all those like you sit pretty the rest of us suffer, ask me to sight an example when you all announced your cuts and plans your party member all sat in the commons cheering more more and laughing. You and your party care for nothing except increasing your wealth and making sure the poor stay were they are and people suffer.

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