£53 per week? Lead by example Ian Duncan Smith

Posted by Gareth Hargreaves

The Work and Pensions Secretary claims he could live on £53 per week "if he had to." Sign this petition and help him to live the dream

Ian Duncan SmithAs the government continues its attacks on people living on benefits, Ian Duncan Smith has offered to prove he can live on £53 per week.

In a week in which energy pricing has again been under severe scrutiny over claims of "prolonged and extensive" misselling of gas and electricity, the Work & Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith has been grandstanding to the right of his party, inferring that people on benefits have it easy and receive too much.

While there is an element of society that will exploit the system to cheat the welfare state, there is also a growing percentage for whom it is the only way to keep their heads above water. The UK has been battered by the worst recession in a generation and only weeks after Chancellor George Osborne was forced to revise downwards his forecasts for the economy, he too has waded in with the benefit bashers - making political capital out of the conviction of child killer, Mick Philpott's dependence on benefits: questioning why the State should fund such people?

It is unclear why Osborne feels justified to play politics with the tragic deaths of six children, or why millionaire Duncan Smith (who has apparently been on the "breadline" a couple of times) is making such claims when there are more than 1.59 million people currently struggling on Job Seekers Allowance (Office for National Statistics).

The Daily Mail's case study attempting to validate Mr Duncan Smith's claim that anyone can live on £7 a day, does not trouble itself to query how the following would satisfy the demand of this volume of people:

"Frugal Kath Kelly, 51, ate at free buffets, shopped at church jumble sales and scrounged leftovers from grocery stores and restaurants.

She picked fruit from bushes and trees and collected a staggering £117 in loose change dropped in the street - a third of her annual budget."

Read full article at Daily Mail: Duncan Smith right - you can live off £53 a week.

For someone on benefits and living in an urban environment picking fruit from trees is somewhat fanciful. For someone actively seeking employment 'abandoning a mobile phone' is hardly good sense, while they may also find it difficult to qualify their status as available for work if they are scouring the streets trying to match the 'staggering' collection of loose change amassed by Ms Kelly.

We would be delighted to see Mr Duncan Smith practice what he has preached, though for considerably longer - only then will he regard living on £53 as easy. As of Friday 05 April more than 437,570 people had supported the petition. If you feel the same way you could add your name to the petition at change.org.

And perhaps this coming autumn he will allow himself the luxury of living off the state pension while attempting to keep his home warm with the winter fuel allowance.

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