Everyone is wrong, apart from Iain Duncan Smith

This is all from the Hansard report for 3rd November.

John Healey (Wentworth and Dearne) (Lab): Why are jobcentre staff being told to say to people “We are not here to help you to find work; we are simply here to check that you do it for yourself”?

Mr Duncan Smith: I do not believe that that is correct. … ”

Stephen Timms (East Ham) (Lab): … The Secretary of State’s former adviser told Radio 4 last week that the Secretary of State had known that the project was going badly wrong since May 2012, but he continued to tell the House that it was “exactly on track”. The Chair of the Public Accounts Committee expects IT write-offs to exceed half a billion pounds after the election. What is the right hon. Gentleman’s estimate?

Iain Duncan Smith: Yet again, the right hon. gentleman has got his facts completely wrong. The reality is that, as was announced only a few weeks ago, universal credit is not only doing well, but is to be rolled out nationally. … ”

Stephen Timms: According to page 34 of the “21st Century Welfare” Green Paper, “The IT changes that would be necessary to deliver” universal credit “would not constitute a major IT project.” Is not the problem — as I pointed out to him at the time — that the Secretary of State failed to grasp the scale of the undertaking at the outset, and that hundreds of millions of pounds have been wasted as a result?

Iain Duncan Smith: Again, the right hon. gentleman is wrong. No money has been wasted. … I wish that the Opposition would stop trying to play silly games and would recognise that this benefit, which is now being rolled out successfully and whose national roll-out has been announced, will be a massive benefit for those who are seeking work and those who are in work. … ”

Julie Hilling (Bolton West) (Lab): The justification for the cruel and heartless bedroom tax is that it would force people to move into smaller homes. As only about 5% of people hit by the tax have been able to move, not least because in areas such as mine there are no smaller properties to move to, does the Secretary of State accept that this policy has manifestly failed?

Iain Duncan Smith: Actually, I do not, and by the way I think the hon. lady’s figures are not correct. …”

Gregg McClymont (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East) (Lab): The bedroom tax surely has a claim to be the most wrong-headed and iniquitous policy introduced by any government in recent memory. The Government’s justification for this cruel tax was that putting it on social housing tenants would incentivise families and individuals to move into smaller homes, but the policy has one fatal flaw: the absence of homes for those families and individuals to move into. Surely the Secretary of State must today concede that the policy has been an abject failure and scrap the tax immediately.

Iain Duncan Smith: Apart from the rhetoric, the reality is that the hon. gentleman is wrong. … ”

Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East and Saddleworth) (Lab): … 4.5 million people on jobseeker’s allowance have been sanctioned, including young people. One in four of those who were sanctioned left JSA. More than half of those who left did so for reasons other than employment. In the light of that, will the Secretary of State apologise for his claim that his policies are getting people into work, when they clearly are not?

Mr Duncan Smith: As far as I am concerned, jobcentres apply sanctions only as a last resort. …”

It must be so difficult to be Iain Duncan Smith.  People are so muddled, and so many of them are plainly wrong.  Why are they saying such things?

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