Introducing the main players behind the Universal Credit;
George Iain Duncan Smith (born 9 April 1954; often referred to by his initials “IDS“) is a British politician. He served as the Leader of the Conservative Party from September 2001 to October 2003. He is currently the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in the Cabinet of David Cameron, and a Member of Parliament (MP) representing the London constituency Chingford and Woodford Green. He is the founder of the Centre for Social Justice, a centre-right think tank independent of the Conservative Party. He is also a published novelist.
In November 2010, as Work and Pensions Secretary, Duncan Smith said a major shake-up in the welfare system would benefit all those who “play by the rules”. The plan, which will see people who refuse to take up job opportunities stripped of benefits for up to three years, is part of a “contract” with the unemployed. Duncan Smith said simplifying the welfare system would ensure “work always pays more” than relying on the state by easing the rate at which benefits are withdrawn as income rises.
In a Commons statement on 11 November 2010, he said: “This is our contract: we make work pay and support you through the Work Programme to find a job. “But in return, if we do that, we also expect co-operation from those who are seeking work. “That is why we are developing a regime of sanctions for those who refuse to play by the rules as well as targeted work activity for those who need to get used to the habits of work”.
Duncan Smith, in December 2011 has drawn up proposals to stop “under-employed” people “topping up” their wages with hand-outs when they are capable of working for longer. Individuals will be told they must earn a minimum amount each week from their jobs and will face being stripped of their housing benefit and tax credits if they fall short, under the plan. The reforms, which could come into force from 2013, mark the latest stage of Mr Duncan Smith’s drive to encourage more people to move from a dependency on benefits to earning a living through work. Duncan Smith said benefit claimants “must take responsibility for themselves” and their families. “We are already requiring people on out of work benefits to do more to prepare for and look for work,” he said. “Now we are looking to change the rules for those who are in-work and claiming benefits, so that once they have overcome their barriers and got into work, in time they can reduce their dependency or come off benefits altogether.”
In January 2012 Duncan Smith said that imposing a planned £26,000-a-year benefits cap would not lead to a rise in homelessness or child poverty. He admitted that peers may want to “vent” their feelings over the cap, the equivalent of £35,000 before tax, but said it would help families who are trapped by a dependence on benefits. “The reality is that with £26,000 a year, it’s very difficult to believe that families will be plunged into poverty – children or adults,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “Capping at average earnings of £35,000 before tax and £26,000 after, actually means that we are going to work with families make sure that they will find a way out.” He added that there would still be some flexibility in the system to help struggling families who were genuinely attempting to get back into work. Mr Duncan Smith said: “For people who fall out of work, we have always said there will be discretionary measures to make sure that this does not punish people but we make sure that we help them to change their circumstances. “For those who are doing the right thing who have fallen out of work, we will support them and make sure they get back to work. “Councils will be able to work with certain key families who may need a little bit more time to make some changes to their circumstances while they push them through the cap and into new housing.”
In June 2012 Duncan Smith argued that families should work at least 35 hours a week, rather than rely on state handouts, if they want to avoid their children living in poverty. Duncan Smith, said that Labour’s strategy to spend more than £150 billion in extra benefit payments for poor families had failed to stop child poverty. Figures published show that the Government failed to meet its statutory target to halve the problem by 2010 – despite the huge amount of taxpayers’ money spent on tackling it. Duncan Smith unveiled a new analysis which will show that hundreds of thousands of children will be lifted out of poverty if at least one of their parents works 35 hours a week earning the minimum wage. The introduction of the universal credit, under the Government’s welfare reforms, will mean that people returning to work from benefits will continue to receive some state support. Mr Duncan Smith will also set out plans to change the definition of child poverty so that a more sophisticated analysis is used. He said that the strategy has failed and parents need to be helped back to work rather than simply subsidised by the state. He said: “With the right support, a child growing up in a dysfunctional household, who was destined for a lifetime on benefits could be put on an entirely different track – one which sees them move into fulfilling and sustainable work. In doing so, they will pull themselves out of poverty.”
In the September 2012 reshuffle, Duncan Smith was offered the job at the Ministry of Justice replacing Kenneth Clarke but declined and remained in his current post. Duncan-Smith led the governments legislation in the House of Commons in January 2013 to cap most benefit increases at 1%, a real terms cut.
On April Fools’ Day 2013, Iain Duncan Smith claimed he could live on £53 per week as Work and Pensions Secretary, after a benefits claimant told the BBC he had £53 per week after housing costs. Subsequently a petition was started on change.org for him to do so for a year; it reached 300,000 supporters by 7:30 P.M. the next day, with further names added that evening at a rate of 12,000 per hour. The petition was handed in one week later with 460 thousand signatures.
In late April 2013, Duncan Smith called for wealthier people to voluntarily return winter fuel payments, which are given to all pensioners regardless of wealth, to help reduce the strain on public finances. This suggestion prompted much media comment, with some wealthier pensioners pointing out that they had already tried to return their payments, for this same reason, but had this offer refused by the government because there is no mechanism in place to receive returned payments (Dame Joan Bakewell had tried to do the same three years earlier).
David Anthony Freud, Baron Freud (born June 1950) is a British journalist, businessman and welfare adviser and is a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. He is a great grandson of Sigmund Freud.
In late 2006, Freud was appointed by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to provide a nominally independent review of the British welfare to work system. His subsequent recommendations called for expanded private sector involvement in the welfare system, for substantial resources to be found to help those on Incapacity Benefit back into “economic activity” and for single parents to be required to take paid employment earlier. Although his recommendations on single parents were immediately adopted, when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in June 2007 other restructuring measures were soft-pedalled.
He was later rehired as an adviser to the government when James Purnell was appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in 2008. He was involved in producing a white paper, published in December 2008, which would require most people receiving benefits either to participate in some form of employment or prepare formally to find paid employment later.
“We cannot have people simply loafing about, doing nothing and expecting the state to finance their lifestyles,” he said in comments to the white paper in question. “That is the way to the destruction of our society.”
In February 2009, Freud joined the Conservative Party, which at that time was not in government. He was given a life peerage as Baron Freud, of Eastry in the county of Kent, and became a shadow minister for welfare in the House of Lords.
As of 2012, Freud is in charge of reform of the benefits system.
in April 2013, hundreds of anti-cuts activists delivered an “eviction notice” to the home of Lord Freud to protest at the Government’s controversial welfare changes. Campaigners from UK Uncut protested outside Tory peer and investment banker Lord Freud’s semi-detached home in Highgate, London, alleged to be worth £1.9m.