Fairness of welfare reforms are defended by Minister
IAIN Duncan Smith hit back at claims by senior religious figures that government welfare reforms would hit children hardest, insisting there was "nothing moral" about leaving families on benefits.
In the face of a searing attack led by the new Archbishop of Canterbury in his first major political intervention, the Work and Pensions Secretary said "fairness" was at the centre of the overhaul he was steering through parliament.
A letter in the Sunday Telegraph signed by 43 bishops and endorsed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York claimed that capping benefit rises at one per cent will have a "deeply disproportionate" effect on children.
But Mr Duncan Smith told ITV News: "This is about fairness. People who are paying taxes, working very hard, have hardly seen any increases in their salary and yet, under the last government, the welfare bill rose by some 60% to £200 billion. That means they have to pay for that under their taxes, which is simply not fair.
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"That same system trapped huge numbers, millions, in dependency, dependent on the state, unable, unwilling to work.
"What is either moral or fair about that? That's my challenge over to the bishop."
He added: "There is nothing moral or fair about a system that I inherited that trapped people in welfare dependency, some one in every five households has no work, that's not the way to end child poverty."