The Independent London Newspaper
24th May 2017

WATCH: Iain Duncan Smith defends sanctions on unemployed as he visits Belsize Park

    Iain Duncan Smith answers questions from Jonny Bucknell

    Published: 10 March, 2016

    WORK and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith claimed men and women thanked him for controversial government sanctions aimed at driving ­people back into work.

    During a visit to Belsize Park to gee-up activists campaigning for Zac Goldsmith in the upcoming mayoral elections, he said that those who fought the punishments were “never going to vote for us” and subscribed to a “classic buzz from the Left”.

    Mr Duncan Smith has been targeted by demonstrators who say sanctions - usually cuts in benefits - are forcing people into unsuitable work or chasing them into jobs they are not physically fit to do.

    Some campaigners have pointed to inquests investigating the deaths of unemployed people as evidence, including the suicide of Michael O’Sullivan, a Highgate man who feared he would lose his incapacity benefit for depression after being declared fit to work by a government panel.

    Mr Duncan Smith’s face was plastered over banners outside the Conservative Party conference in Manchester in October, where the New Journal reported how Camden councillor Jonny Bucknell took the unusual step of trying to talk to masked protesters about their complaints.

    At the time, he said he would raise the issue of how far-reaching the sanctions were if he was to meet Mr Duncan Smith, with his appearance at a Tory street stall in England’s Lane providing his first opportunity to honour that commitment.

    Cllr Bucknell suggested to Mr Duncan Smith that the government could use a carrot instead of stick approach, by introducing a reward system of bonuses for jobseekers.

    He warned the former Conservative Party leader that unemployed people in their 50s were particularly struggling to find work, and that the sanctions added to their stress.

    But Mr Duncan Smith launched into a defiant defence of the penalties, insisting that people were often glad of the way sanctions had changed their lives.

    He said: “Seventy-five per cent of all those who have been sanctioned say it helped them focus and get on. Even the people in the job centres think it’s the right thing to do... sanctions are the reason why we now have the highest employment levels ever in the UK, and more women in work. 

    “What we say is, ‘we’ll give you all the support but at the end of the day we expect you to do something for it: go back to work, take the job, take the interviews’. And it works, talk to any of the advisers in the job centres.”

    Told by Cllr Bucknell that he was bringing a message from the front line of the protest, Mr Duncan Smith added: “The Labour Party had sanctions. We haven’t actually changed the sanctions regime. It’s just a classic buzz from the Left. These are just political campaigners – they leap up and down on everything. These people are never going to vote for us. You have to understand, these people hate us.”

    Pressed again by Cllr Bucknell on whether a system of bonuses could work, Mr Duncan Smith added: “The bonus is, you go back to work. I don’t know what else the bonus would be.”

    Cllr Bucknell said after their exchange he was reassured that Mr Duncan Smith had told him that nobody was sanctioned without a warning system in place of the punishments they could face.



    I was a security guard for 19 years and went for help and got sanctioned first week by some 20 year old working shifts I am totally exhausted & later discovered civil servants at Somerset house where I worked got £35000 redundancy packages.

    Back to work Bonus?

    What 'Back to work Bonus'? are they referring to? It was scrapped, sometime ago, and as soon as you are signed off, your benefits, are axed accordingly.
    (Even when incorrectly informed, that they will be a tailing off period).
    Welcome, to the world of work, and indebtedness.

    Iain Duncan Smith's resignation as Secretary for Work

    Following my comment earlier - Warning System - I since watched the video - versus just reading the article - to see Iain Duncan Smith saying that there was fair warning system, which is what everyone would expect/expected.

    I think Iain Duncan Smith has realised that is not as he had wanted it to be and has explained how he was being pushed by other people/Conservatives eg in the past.

    It is good that he has taken this stand.

    It is also I think hard for some people (eg some Conservatives) to realise that some people do not have other people that they can easily get funds from to fill gaps with, because they may not be able to afford that or just may not understand the other person's position as well. It is good to stay positive because ideas or help would likely come people's way or be found, but that doesn't mean that it is fair (and especially it would be difficult for longer term sanctions as well, eg 6 months, which it seemed were often the case).

    It might help if people write to the local paper a letter or to their MP as a way of explaining these kinds of situations, which other people do not know about.

    Thanks for Sanctions

    I'm a little confused here. How is it possible for someone to express gratitude to this appalling man after having committed suicide? Do they leave it in their note?

    guaranteed health?

    I am sick to death (no pun intended) of people who say they have always worked AND ALWAYS will , because they look after themselves. It simply is not true that all health problems / are linked to a persons lifestyle. Parkinson's,RA,MS, fibromyalgia, cerebral palsy etc etc can affect anybody.....if the way out of poverty is work, do I take it that people who are too sick to work have to be resigned to a life of poverty. I think we need to publicise what this man and the DWP are saying, so that EVERYBODY knows what is going on, not just those directly affected

    his talks and his excuses

    his talks and his excuses about the sanctions on disabled people make me think that this man is a pervert narcissistic, he can be charming, he can give you all the answers you expect to hear but when you spend a day with him you realize how his talking don't match his actions.
    The man who asked the questions was in fact very cleaver because he kept his calm and asked the question indirectly, therefore IDS wasn't on his guards when he spit his nonsense and with people suffering of pervert narcissistic it is the best way to get them telling the truth and the lies to cover the reality.
    Also the interviewer seems odd, but with odd people like IDS, the only chance to get him talking is by playing his game and it had worked, IDS is showing what he's like, a heartless man, a non compassionate man, an irritating man, an intolerant man, an anti social man, in fact he is completely out of touch and out his depth at this position.

    Iain Duncan schmit

    Hes in denial and im afraid were all doomed people who cant function in the same way every day find it difficult to work as you never know what days your going to be well enough to perform even though almost all would swap with an able bodied person to go to work just to be rid of the constant daily pain


    The man is pond life he is the reason for all the deaths that have been caused by his actions he was useless as a prime minister and even worse at what he is doing now .Go and rot you slime ball,I was going to say you will be rewarded in heaven for your evil but you will be going to hell.


    He was never Prime Minister, only Leader of the Opposition. He stood no chance at all of becoming PM. Maybe he now wants to lead the EU 'Leave' campaign, but it seems unlikely that he can. He probably has very few followers, and personally I'm not planning to vote 'Leave' anyway despite the EU's very serious problems.


    I think he's making himself come to the fore of the party as he was a useless leader when he had Cameron's job. He doesn't care who he crushes to look like the top man the Conservatives want, what a lovely, honest man. Not.


    IDS is only Cameron,s side kick and equally responsible for this murderer's actions, they should both be brought to justice in the Hague for their policies and hatred against the sick disabled and less fortunate members of our society, social cleansing and discrimination of the poor. Democracy is a thing of the past where the tories are concerned. Our children will suffer so much hardship as a result of this parties rhetoric and propaganda.

    They have distorted voting policies, destroyed everything we stand for as UK citizens, lie through their teeth on every thing they claim is for the good of our country, sold off more of our assets than any other government since the first world war.

    Stop and think which part of society has not been disrupted by their policies, Police, NHS, Fire Brigade, Social Security, Education, House building, Fracking, Legal aid, Teachers, Councils, DVLA, Border Controls, Prisons, Hospitals, Flood defense, disabled, social security, our privacy, the BBC, the MOD, endless and people voted for this.

    Ian Duncan Smith

    That ignorant creature is on his own planet !.

    Ian Duncan Smith

    That creature is on his own planet !.


    Not sure why the interviewer didn't challenge him on the dodgy stats and other cuts to benefits. It was a good opportunity to nail him down but sadly lost. He gets quite angry when challenged out of his comfort zone, I'm sure he'd score a few points for agitation on a work capability assessment. Also did readers know that Maximus (who took over from Atos) are in partnership with Remploy LTD ? Which IDS and Maria Miller helped to disband.


    Not sure why the interviewer didn't challenge him on the dodgy stats and other cuts to benefits. It was a good opportunity to nail him down but sadly lost. He gets quite angry when challenged out of his comfort zone, I'm sure he'd score a few points for agitation on a work capability assessment. Also did readers know that Maximus (who took over from Atos) are in partnership with Remploy LTD ? Which IDS and Maria Miller helped to disband.

    Smith would not know the truth if it bit him in the face

    I missed an interview because I was directed to the wrong place and by the time I arrived at the right venue they had already told the jobcentre I had 'failed to attend' the interview.

    The next interview I missed was because the letter from the jobcentre arrived the day after the scheduled interview. The DWP declared that as I had 'refused to attend' two interviews, my benefit was being cut off for 156 weeks.

    IDS referred to ONS over false claims

    It is unsurprising that IDS has been referred to the ONS over his claims that 75% of those sanctioned have thanked him. The figure is entirely spurious.

    For example: there were 3,097,630 JSA claims made in 2013-14 & 568,430 were sanctioned - so according to Smith's figs 426,322 people thanked him that year - and that's in one year.

    Liar IDS lies again, and again, and again.

    IDS's statement about sanctions not being changed is a blatant lie.

    Previously sanctions were for a day, or few days, after a number of warnings (usually verbal and at the discretion of the JCP, with no targets).

    Under IDS sanctions are now for 1 month, 3 months, and 3 years; with no warning for any minor infraction, such as a few minutes late for interview, and its been proven time and time again that there are "targets" or in IDS speak "expected distributions of sanctioned cohorts" (So not a target according to IDS).

    "Warnings" are only being trialled at a few JCP's to assess the impact (1), the rest still get no warning. I guess IDS will wiggle out of this lie by saying "they are warned in the small print when they first signing on", IDS is a master at the subtle linguistics of political speak.

    In summary: There are no warnings, there are targets, and IDS has changed the sanctions regime - so three lies in three statements; well done IDS!

    (1) Funny how they can assess the impact of something that might favour the poor pleb in JSA and ESA, yet they refused to perform an impact assessment on a 30GBP cut to the sick and disabled, instead opting to force the cut through the HOL using "financial privilege".

    The one truth.

    There was one statement that IDS made that was true... "these people would never vote for us".

    And therein lies the rub, why care for the sick, disabled, working poor, and unemployed when they won't vote for you? If you can get just enough people to vote for you, the rest can go hang as far as the likes of IDS are concerned.

    Poor people don't vote for conservatives, therefore they don't count.

    Excellent Observation !!!

    Spot On !!

    Deluded psychopath

    Pretty much everything that he said was a lie, but I think he genuinely believes himself. A very dangerous and very evil man, probably one of the most hated people in the country (after Jeremy Cun--- I mean, Hunt)

    Would love to see him try and explain himself to someone who isn't a councillor in his own party - the general public would gladly tear him to shreds. He and the DWP are being investigated by the UN and the EU, but unfortunately, in reality, people like IDS usually get away with their crimes.


    "No one in work has complained about sanctions," did he really say that as a answer? 75% say it helped them, did they? I suppose the remaining 46% found jobs and where unable to say anything as they had jobs and as such didn't complain. (please note the sarcasm in the figures.)

    Failed system

    Maybe like people are asked to prove they physical evidence that they have a disability , Mr Duncan Smith should provide evidence that people thanked him for taking away they're disabilities. Never heard such rubbish. People are losing they're lives on his regime for goodness sakes.. Get him sanctioned ..

    Failed system

    In a follow up to your statement, maybe IDS is Jesus re-born. Curing the sick and making people, unable to walk, stand tall and are able to throw away the shackles of sticks and wheel chairs and walk right into the perfect workplace with high wages so they can pay low taxes.

    Crass from start to finish.

    Well, I'm only too happy to say I didn't vote for that lame excuse of a cllr named Bucknall. An appalling chance to hold IDS accountable for more of his insidious and vicious lies has been wasted.
    My brother quit his 20 year old job at the DSS due to the sanctions he and his fellow work-mates were forced to inflict. He said the morale and resentment within the DSS had fallen to an all time low, and he couldn't bear to be a part of the absurdity anymore; he said it was actually making him I'll.
    As for Bucknall, his playing along with the propaganda and lies shows he is unfit to be a cllr of any worth; at best an incredibly stupid and/or drip of a man), at worse another self-satisfied and selfish Conservative lap-dog.

    Disingenuous Toad

    IDS says he's not responsible for introducing benefit sanctions. That's not the point. The point is that during his time in office, the use of sanctions has sky-rocketed. According to the government's figures, 860,000 benefit claimants were sanctioned between June 2012 and June 2013, a jump of 360,000 from a year earlier. In 2014 there were over 1m cases.

    The Trussell Trust’s ‘Cheshire Hunger’ research found that half of their recipients were dependent on foodbank handouts due to problems receiving benefits, in many cases due to sanctions.

    IDS is taking away the social safety net, our welfare state, and screwing over poor people. At the root of all this is his claim that for somebody to be on the receiving end of benefit sanctions, it's the result of a series of personal failings and bad decisions. Ignore the 2008 recession, the entrenched social inequality in Britain, the complexity of deprivation in terms of how it affects health and education etc.

    There are countless cases of arbitrary, harsh and trivial sanctions, as well as administrative errors. Some examples here:

    Many of these people paid their National Insurance contributions year on year and are now out of work due to factors beyond their control. If you have no job you are ENTITLED to support from the state with being characterised as lazy or feckless.


    Could Cllr Bucknall be more naive? IDS is a such a liar and probably the most dangerous man in government. Yes there were sanctions under Labour but not like under this government, you get sanctioned for just breathing now! How can this man get away with spouting so many lies, how is he still in his job, how can folk go on believing what he has said after it's been proven he's told so many lies? IDS should be locked up for what he's done, the man's a dangerous psychopath!


    the git lies because he is paid thousands to lie, and also because the git lies that many times it believes its self....father of a 1000+ dead and rising.. but alas morons voted these tossers in

    He just hasn't got a clue.

    He just hasn't got a clue. In his game, ignorance is regarded as a sound defence.

    However, when it's time for him to get his, there'll be two or three million people cheering the fact.

    Grotesque SMITH

    Its all a massive LIE My Granddaughter worked in the Job Center she had to hand her notice in as she was so distraught at what she witnessed on a daily basis there are so many stories to tell...One was a young lad whos mother had died and he wanted to go to her funeral and they said he had to come to the JC straight after he did but was 7 minutes late due to bus getting caught up in traffic they didn't want to know and he was sanctioned...

    Whistles .... anyone?

    Please encourage anyone you know who works, or used to work for the DWP to start blowing whistles as loudly as possible.

    Any-one who has witnessed the state-sanctioned cruelty of hounding vulnerable people to death owes those people some justice, and those about to die, a reprieve.

    'Doesn't matter if it's anonymous, or who to whistle to - but the UN people who are investigating this very issue might be a good place to start before you go to the media.

    If you witnessed this evil, or were forced to take part, then you owe these victims, past and future, your concern. If you don't speak up then you just might find that the ghosts of these lost souls will haunt you the rest of your life. Do yourself and hundreds of thousands of others a favour by not "crossing over to the other side of the road" and ignoring this dreadful holocaust.

    warning system

    I had got the impression from the media that someone on JSA at the job centre would now receive a warning before being sanctioned, which was some reassurance against unfairness, and I wondered why this would not have been the case in the beginning.

    Really what is required is dialogue between an advisor and the job searcher/claimant. If the advisor thought that the claimant was not eg applying for enough jobs then you would think they would be informed of this first and a clear idea given regarding what is expected, to get them back on the expected track immediately. Only perhaps someone completely unwilling would refuse what is requested (unless it was something perhaps quite unreasonable or unavoidable).

    I saw someone at the MPs surgery in their late 50s with small children who had been sanctioned and she did not seem to know anything about a warning. I also spoke to someone campaigning about this with Unite and he disagreed that this was the case.

    At first I thought that contained in your article was a reassurance at the end, but words always have to be analysed I have learnt and to say that "a warning system is in place of the punishments they could face" does not necessarily mean much at all, perhaps just a form signed at the beginning to this affect without being specific at all (that box can be ticked).

    When sanctions were first started and it seemed they had targets it was not the case that they were being done for reasons of fairness, but, as I've said, targets designed to save money or give someone a kick up the bum as they found themselves mostly completely without money for food and bills (also information regarding what could be done) and would have at best resolved never to be in that situation again.

    How people can be so sure that they themselves would never be in that position, I don't know (unless they inherited or have accumulated vast savings or otherwise in an unusual job where they are always guaranteed to find work because it is so much in demand and neither is there any risk of it being lost somehow eg struck off wrongly, or something. What provisions exists for someone on JSA who is struck off wrongly ie where can they turn to then? If there is no where for them to go to get justice, there may be no where for the person in a job - and how thinks they will never be in that position - to get justice either.

    75% ??? IDS's statistics again

    Is that 75% an ONS stat or another one of his "feelings" You can usually guarantee IDS has lied or had a "feeling" especially when he uses stats. The "man" has got nothing that resembles a conscience...let's just hope he finds himself in front of a human rights court before he dies 

    IDS Believes His Own Lying Rhetoric

    He is a habitual liar. Always has been, always will be. 75%? I know this number is a lie. He deludes only himself and those that want to believe in that lie. A Liar is so much easier to say than Human Rights Criminal and fabricator of statistics. He searches for the opening statements of the Decisions in almost every Court Case to find a sentence, or even a mention on what he claims is the Court's tacit approval of his programmes. He doesn't read through the Decisions that are repeatedly displayed where his policies and propaganda has failed, over and over again, about the reality of his nefarious intentions on seeing the Disabled as a waste of human life and are discarded.

    When he was asked by Cllr Bucknell about what benefits would these people see, his response echoes everything that sums up his mental instability. “The bonus is, you go back to work. I don’t know what else the bonus would be.” isn't this easier to state "Work Makes Freedom" far more succinct and accurate?

    Because the idea that the severely Disabled do not want to contribute to Society is wrong, but due to our limited abilities our contributions may not emulate the same expectations that others see as Contributions. We will have days when we might be capable of making a positive impact to our Society by our actions, but we do not have a rota of good days and bad. Sometimes we can be completely incapable of contributing anything at all.

    Disability has that marked component in it. We may be limited by our health to stock shelves, work a till, or wash up toilets. We may have very limited capacities and measures to provide the expectations of our able-bodied friends, family, community and Nation. But to lay the blame on us is far more easy to say and promote about us.

    I want everything that my able-bodied friends enjoy, but my genetics stole those dreams over 8 years ago. Do you know what it feels like to be spit on because you use a mobility scooter? Do you understand how it feels to be able to do everything one day, and then it all disappears because of an ultra-rare genetic disability that my great grandfather suffered from? Do you understand how it feels when your tendons are forcing the cuneiforms out of my feet? My tear ducts no longer function efficiently, as well as my salivation, creating a perpetually dry mouth and throat. I use my epiglottis, which works for short periods, but not long. I type with one finger on my non-dominant hand, and that is far from perfect. I have seizures, narcolepsy, Meige's Syndrome, Dysphonia, Essential Tremors, Dystonic Storms, and have been determined to be equivalent to Generalised Idiopathic Dystonia-Parkinsonism. Their issues are also indications of my more specific diagnosis of Chorea Acanthocytosis. I've lost my relationship, friends, social outreach, and I am barely holding onto my life due to the cost of living is now overtaking my abilities to maintain it. I can not sit up to type. Far too difficult and painful. And I eat once a day, as I cannot afford to eat more. I am working out how to negotiate the debt that I have now out of my attempts to make my Sheltered Tenancy as independent as possible. With the ILF gone how else do you have to get these things done?

    I told my friends from inside and outside of the UK of my situation. This system has broken me. I need help, and do not know where to turn. I have feelings, too. All that these lies from Iain Duncan-Smith has done is make others hate me. I made a good life for myself before this. If you think I am enjoying this you are clearly misguided. It has broken me, and my friends outside of the UK are astonished by the treatment of the Disabled. This is appalling and breaking from the Human Rights Charter of the EU and the World Court. I am not surprised that Iain Duncan-Smith is for the Out Campaign. If this would happen the Human Rights Charter will be eliminated for a far more draconian and regressive depictions of all Disabled People. They've already made it clear that the Tory Government wants to scrap Human Rights. "Work Makes Freedom."

    History repeats itself, initially as something they claim is best for the Country and the Disabled, when in reality it is focused on the elimination of all but the few Disabled to far earlier deaths. May he be found guilty by the Hague of Crimes Against Humanity.

    Is this tosser for real? How

    Is this tosser for real? How many more will he be allowed to murder before he's stopped?



    What a waste

    of space, talking about him!

    why do people hate the Tories

    The Labour party never imposed sanctions as you do. Sanctions should only be imposed as a last resort and even then they should take into account a persons circumstances. Everyone needs to eat and be able to pay their bills. So why do you impose sanctions on people who are obviously ill or disabled


    IDS with the DWP it is becoming like a nazi state, pick on the pensioners, mentally ill, disabled, I am a diabetic and you are told to keep your insulin in the fridge to keep insulin cool and fresh. MPs do not need big pay rises, but they vote to take £30 per week on this new benefits. IDS keep fighting to get is way with this new benefit, disgraceful

    I wonder if the people who

    I wonder if the people who have died have congratulated him on the sanctions yet?

    its not the sanctions its the

    its not the sanctions its the way they are enforced


    A conservative counselor asking a conservative minister pretty arranged questions.
    If people were happy with sanctions, why are they committing suicide?
    Labour introduced sanctions but the reasons for sanctioning have become petty.the number of sanctions speak for themselves. If people have hospital appointments, family deaths, job interviews etc they get sanctioned.
    If people don't get a letter for the appointment, it's their fault, even when no proof that one has been sent can be shown.
    Why are IDS & DWP being investigated by EU?
    How can taking 30% of their money be classed as an incentive? Especially when you are classed as being to sick to work.
    When are the cuts going to hit the commons and Lords? When are the cuts going to hit the top 1%? When are the people going to get value for money from their MPs? When are MPs going to be prosecuted for fraud when claiming for things they know they shouldn't? Mr underpants, Mr £37 breakfast. The system is corrupt, it's time for a total rethink.

    Duncan Smith .. Sanctions

    At the beginning, IDS sounded as though he was scared of getting a thump.
    ' wasn't me guv'.
    Apart from that, he is a deeply weird man and how easily he lies. Total nonsensical rhetoric.

    Iain Duncan Smith and benefit sanctions

    This is simply bizarre. Iain Duncan Smith appears to have forgotten his own Act of Parliament. Section 46 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 was a complete reform of the sanctions regime. He himself boasted that the Act was the biggest shake up of social security since the welfare state was founded. How can he say 'We haven't changed sanctions'? Unbelievable - literally.

    IDS is murdering far-right

    IDS is murdering far-right scum.

    The doublespeak continues...

    I.D.S' lies know no bounds. Why would anyone believe anything that this far-right, intellectually-bereft, incompetent killer of many thousands has to say?

    Cllr Bucknell acted like a

    Cllr Bucknell acted like a rabbit in a cars headlights! No pointing out all the deaths, the unfairness for older people ect ect. Oh labour had sanctions ,yes but they looked into the reasons for unconformity . No question of the amount of money spent on the universal credit. PATHETIC

    Iain Duncan Smith

    Yep he really is insane - if there was the money and beds he would be committed - oops sorry he would go private! Throw the key away and a brand new straight jacket he's dangerous

    Labour party sanctions

    Yes the labour party had sanctions. . But they weren't used for every little slip up! They were actually a last resort where as the tories have made them so super unreasonably harsh it's sick.


    Would that be the thanks generated by the fake claimants (actors) that his department used to promote sanctions?

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