Welfare reforms will transform the lives of Britons while putting an end to a benefits system that trapped many people in poverty, Iain Duncan Smith MP told an event hosted by the CSJ yesterday.
The Work and Pensions Secretary used the occasion to reiterate the need for overhauling welfare and introducing the landmark Universal Credit (UC) policy, which simplifies the benefits system and lets individuals keep more of their earnings.
Mr Duncan Smith, founder and Patron of the CSJ, said the controversial documentary series Benefits Street shows how parts of British society have been marginalised and why dramatic change is needed.
He said people should not blame long-term benefit claimants, but the politicians who created a failing system that means people can be better-off out of work than in it. He added that changes to the benefits system are part of a "historic mission", drawing upon the inspiration of William Wilberforce’s campaign to end the slave trade.
Mr Duncan Smith said that one million people have been on incapacity benefits for a decade or more, and more than four million people had been abandoned on out-of-work benefits even before the recession.
He added: "In Government, the challenge has been to act on this ambition and make changes to restore a creaking and chaotic welfare state into one which delivers on that vision for life change."
The speech received widespread media coverage. Read the BBC, The Times, Guardian, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Spectator, ITV, Channel 4, Independent. Footage of the speech is available at the Telegraph, Guardian and on YouTube.
UC was originally designed at the CSJ and formed a major part of the report Dynamic Benefits.