Duncan Smith to face grilling from MPs over misuse of statistics



The work and pensions select committee launches an inquiry after Duncan Smith was rebuked by the UK Statistics Authority for misrepresenting figures on the benefit cap.


Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith arrives to attend the government's weekly cabinet meeting at Number 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Getty Images.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith arrives to attend the government’s weekly cabinet meeting at Number 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Getty Images.


With deceptively little fanfare, the work and pensions select committee has announced that it intends to question Iain Duncan Smith over his misuse of statistics.

After IDS was rebuked by the UK Statistics Authority for falsely claiming that 8,000 people had moved into work as a result of the introduction of the benefit cap, the committee has “decided to examine the way DWP releases benefit statistics to the media”. 

The inquiry into Duncan Smith’s behaviour will be carried out as part of its annual assessment of the DWP Annual Report and Accounts (ARA), which is due to be published at the end of June. Since the Work and Pensions Secretary always appears before the committee once the assessment has been published, he is now certain to face questions over his statistical chicanery.

The Change.org petition calling for Duncan Smith to be held to account by parliament has now received 96,271 signatures. Let us now hope he is.

In the past month, the Work and Pensions Secretary has claimed that 878,000 people dropped their claims for sickness benefits rather than face a new medical assessment; that thousands deliberately registered for the Disability Living Allowance before it was replaced with the more “rigorous” Personal Independence Payment; and that 8,000 people moved into work as a result of the introduction of the coalition’s benefit cap. Not one of these assertions was supported by the official statistics.

Thousands of people move on and off benefits each month as their health, housing and employment circumstances change but there is no evidence that they do so for the reasons ascribed by Duncan Smith. As his own department stated in relation to the benefit cap, “The figures for those claimants moving into work cover all of those who were identified as potentially being affected by the benefit cap who entered work. It is not intended to show the additional numbers entering work as a direct result of the contact.”

Duncan Smith’s insistence that the reverse was true was dog-whistle politics of the worst kind. By stating that 8,000 people entered employment as a direct consequence of the benefit cap, he painted them as “scroungers” unwilling to work until the state ceased to subsidise their fecklessness. As for those who had not found jobs, the implication was that they were merely not trying hard enough. 

The New Statesman 

14 thoughts on “Duncan Smith to face grilling from MPs over misuse of statistics

  1. Gbarbm says:

    I hope the fat tw*t gets sacked (not likely I know, but I can dream can’t I?) and has to claim JSA…ha ha ha ha! Mind you he’s on his third heiress so he can live off her.
    He’s a failed army officer, a failed tory leader and a liar to boot!

  2. jeffrey davies says:

    its called lies lies and more figure manipulation by his cronies but ids tell the truth you have better chance of god answering you jeff3

  3. John Hargrave says:

    I hope Duncan Smith is called to account and is made to face a Public Enquiry for his misleading use of statistics. He should then be to made to make a full public apology, on the Front Pages of all Newspapers, and then he should be kicked out of the Tory Party, once and for all.

  4. Stepping Razor Sound Plate says:

    IDS Your Fired. The legal bit is with the DWP & it`s misuse & breach of the Data Protection Act. Untruths & false information on DWP`s contracted company ATOS with false Medicals. The Legality lies with the DWP`s DPO [Data Protection Officer]. The onus is on the Burden of proof against breaches with no proof & not fit for Purpose.

    It Is Not Me To Prove Who I Am, It Is For You To Prove Who You Are.

    Am I The Only One Who Has Not Filled Out Or Sent Back The ESA [default] Form. So an unpresidented view then.

    DWP I am a freedom fighter & I don`t Plea Bargin.

    Through opening up the DWP with the Data Protection Act it opens up the other 20 or so other companies the DWP contract to do parts of the DWP`s jobs. ATOS / UNUM / TRIAGE / INTREGRITY / HOMES & COUNTY TAX HAVENS / on & on & on. For Corporate Manslaughter Flag Shipped By The PM the Star Of David is very bad under pressure. Fooling Wasted Money On Your Eton Education with no knowledge of educatiion & thick as two planks to employ boot lickers & Cut Corners On Your Flag Ships.

    I Am A Very Bad Cash Cow – I Will Cost you money A lot Of Money.

    Onus DPA – It is for the DWP`s Lawyer at £300 An Hour [not us] to read the 700 pages of the Data Protection Act to find loop holes. Once they didn`t find any they try & find A way To Twist The Queens English. Like “Disabled” are now called “Bodies” Dead Bodies Company With No Leader A Dead Body To Pay No Tax.
    Is IDS paying his taxes !! He Can`t Seem To Count !! Oh Fiddle Sticks !!

    The Walfare Reform Bill Is The Biggest Scandal Since The Thalidomide Scandal in the 1950`s & 1960`s.

    Q. Who Is Responable For The DWP ?
    A. The PM.
    Because IDS got Fired.

    Breaking Down The Barriers.

    The Emotional Stress Is Imposed By ATOS to make you think ATOS are the ones at fault & can`t be touched hiding behind the DWP. Yes People It Is Not ATOS in breach of the DPA it is their boss the DWP. The DWP have off loaded liability to ATOS. = Breach Of Contract. You are the boss DWP & if You Can`t Keep Your Companies In Line Then You Will Be Sacked Like IDS.

    Remember DWP it`s £300 An Hour For Your Lawyers.


    Not with Breaches & Not Fit For Purpose Paper Work = Breaking The Data Protection Act = Makes The Whole Process Invalid = The Welfare Reform Bill is not fit for Purpose.

    They forgot it is not a political issue, It is a Human Rights Issue Of Freedom & Equailty For All.

    So Corporate Manslaughter Charges DWP & every Company You Employ – Now Its ATOS`s Turn For Corporate Manslaughter – Money Laundering – ID Laundering – ID Fraud with the DWP & IDS.


    What Made You Think Of Taking Up The US failed Outlawed Walfare Reform Bill & using the same failed system in the UK Mr David ex – PM Not Fit For Work Or Purpose.

    Words Are There To Be Used not twisted.

    So Gendocide From Their Own Government On The Disabiled Will Never Be Aloud To Happen Ever Again.

    Charles Dickens times they used to have work houses, but in these times 2013 they have closed all the work houses down.


  5. Humanity2012 says:

    I am Incensed with how Bloody Well Brainwashed People are
    out There in the Alleged ” Real World ” Oblivious to the Tory
    Responsibility for the Un Employment Situation and the Evil
    Oppression of the Poor by the Moralless Rich

    It is Not the Poor who Need to Learn Morality it is the
    Filthy Feckless Rich

    Anyone who Thinks that only by having Money can Anyone
    have any Morals is Part of the Problem because Rich People
    with Lots of Money have No Morals because they are Corrupted
    by Obscene Wealth as Well as Blinded by Obscene Wealth just
    as Obscene Poverty Degrades People Not Least in this Con Dem
    Nazi State

  6. Annos says:

    “This report outlines 35 cases where Ministerial claims using statistics on the subject of Work and Benefits have fallen short of the standards expected of Government Ministers.

    We believe that this demonstrates a consistent pattern of abuse of official statistics by Ministers of the present Government to paint a false picture of benefit claimants in the UK in support of policies which are aimed at cost cutting to the detriment of jobless, sick and disabled people.

    Within this document, each case is presented, and fully referenced to source material throughout.”


  7. Rudehamster says:

    It’s interesting that IDS was given special mention during George Osborne’s Spending Statement last week. He was praised for his success in getting people back to work. During the following mention, IDS grinned his usual irritating grin & looked embarrassed to have even be mentioned. It was as if it was nothing to him: he had that ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet’ smile.

    Here is the link to Osborne’s full speech & the specific mention of IDS,
    My Right Honourable Friend the Work and Pensions Secretary changed the national debate about welfare and he has comprehensively won the argument.
    He has committed to finding a further 9.5 per cent savings in his department’s running costs.
    That will require a difficult drive for efficiency, and a hard-headed assessment of under-performing programmes.

    With all of this praise being heaped on a Duncan-Smith in parliament and on national television, the whole issue of his being hauled up by the Select Committee seems to have been swept under the carpet. It was certainly not mentioned by Labour.

    I’ve also given up the expectation of hearing any mention of it on the national news, as the BBC seems to have swapped investigative political journalism for being a censored mouthpiece for the current government. I question if they are being threatened with financial cuts if they don’t tow the line?
    A Cabinet Minister being hauled up for lying is big news, yet not one journalist is following this story up on the BBC website.
    Surely this has to be tackled?

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