Iain Duncan Smith

Iain Duncan Smith is a lucky man: no other minister would have survived figures as poor as those of the Work Programme. Image: Getty

How to improve the Work Programme

28 November 2012 16:49

Everyone who has been involved in the Work Programme has been warning ministers for some time that there were serious problems with this flagship policy. As this is the opposite… Continue reading

Iain Duncan Smith is onto a good thing with child poverty, but what about marriage tax breaks? Image: Getty

Marriage tax breaks would alleviate child poverty, Mr Duncan Smith

16 November 2012 14:51

The problem about relative poverty is precisely its relativity. The child poverty index, which measures whether a family’s income is below 60 per cent of the average, is a case… Continue reading

Iain Duncan Smith said he was an 'optimist' about Britain's future.

Iain Duncan Smith: the UK should ‘have it all’

4 November 2012 14:34

Iain Duncan Smith was strangely vague this morning when Andrew Marr asked him whether he thought Britain could survive outside the European Union. He said: ‘I’m an optimist about the… Continue reading

Iain Duncan Smith is proposing that benefits should be limited for families if they decide to have more than two children. Picture: Getty

Iain Duncan Smith’s latest welfare cut kite

25 October 2012 13:39

It is strange that the government has chosen to trail a speech by Iain Duncan Smith on an issue popular with voters on the same day as good economic news.… Continue reading

Alex Salmond speaks at the SNP annual conference. Picture: Getty

The SNP’s dismal conference

21 October 2012 20:32

The Scottish National Party conference in Perth ought to have been a festival of ideas, showcasing solutions that only be applied by independence. Instead it has reminded everyone that the… Continue reading

What would you like to ask IDS? Photo: Getty Images.

Any questions for Iain Duncan Smith?

9 October 2012 15:19

I’m interviewing Iain Duncan Smith today for a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference, hosted by the Centre for Social Justice. I will be able to grill him for… Continue reading

Illustration: Carla Millar

Conservative conference: Iain Duncan Smith rips into Labour’s welfare legacy

8 October 2012 16:46

Iain Duncan Smith has just delivered the most political speech of what has been a highly partisan conference. He tore into Labour’s record on welfare, accusing them of having fostered… Continue reading

Members of the Quad meet up. The Lib Dems appear to have resigned themselves to agreeing to further welfare cuts. Picture: Getty

Conservative conference: George Osborne to pursue £10 billion welfare cuts

8 October 2012 7:12

George Osborne is due to speak to the Conservative party conference just before lunch today. What he tells the Symphony Hall at the International Convention Centre may well put his… Continue reading

Iain Duncan Smith has suggested there may be further welfare cuts. Photo: Getty Images.

Conservative conference: Iain Duncan Smith admits ‘We will have to take more money out of welfare’

7 October 2012 19:56

The Tory party loves its former leaders and the queue for Conservative Home’s fringe event with Iain Duncan Smith went round the block. IDS began by explaining why he had… Continue reading

Iain Duncan Smith

Universal uncertainty

5 October 2012 13:15

Brushing aside recent criticism of his universal credit scheme, Iain Duncan Smith claimed that nothing now ‘demoralised’ him. After surviving two years of gruelling denigration as Conservative Party leader, he… Continue reading

Iain Duncan Smith needs to recognise that welfare is more complicated than he has imagined. Image: Getty.

The dangers of yearning for a simple life

22 September 2012 16:53

What is this mania for simplification? Listening to Nigel Farage struggling to explain UKIP tax policy on the Today programme this week made me wonder why, in so many areas… Continue reading

British Sectary of State for Work and Pe

Our debate on welfare reform is a dismal scandal - Spectator Blogs

19 September 2012 15:15

On balance, Iain Duncan Smith’s spell as Tory leader can’t be remembered as an unmitigated success. Be that as it may, sometimes there are second acts in political lives and,… Continue reading


‘Denuded’ Work and Pensions committee sheds little light on Universal Credit

17 September 2012 20:22

The Work and Pensions Select Committee was much denuded this evening, chair Anne Begg told the guests: its membership had either been promoted in the reshuffle or had personal crises… Continue reading

Iain Duncan Smith

Keeping it simple: getting the Universal Credit back on track

17 September 2012 15:38

Universal Credit, a giant effort to weave together all the fraying strands of welfare policy, is now unravelling fast. It all seemed so simple and intuitive when the idea was… Continue reading

Sir Jeremy Heywood pulls the strings of Cameron's government. But can will he scuttle welfare reform?

Iain Duncan Smith versus Jeremy Heywood

16 September 2012 16:32

There’s war in Whitehall. The Sunday Times devotes its p2 lead (£) to the fact that Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, is ‘sceptical’ of the Universal Credit, the key to Iain… Continue reading

The Universal Credit is supposed to streamline benefits from October 2013. Picture: Getty.

Briefing: Universal Credit

11 September 2012 13:45

MPs are due to debate the government’s plans for universal credit in the House of Commons this afternoon. The Opposition Day motion questions whether ministers have ‘failed to properly account… Continue reading

Iain Duncan Smith must beware of ignoring warning signs about the implementation of the universal credit. Picture: Getty.

Iain Duncan Smith denies threat to universal credit

10 September 2012 18:03

Allowing Iain Duncan Smith to dig his heels in at the Work and Pensions department in last week’s reshuffle sent out two messages. The first was that the Prime Minister… Continue reading

Daniel Finkelstein inadvertently derails the re-shuffle. Image: Getty.

How Danny Finkelstein botched the reshuffle

4 September 2012 14:19

Word reaches Mr Steerpike that Times columnist Danny Finkelstein played a decisive role in the reshuffle. As is widely known, Danny speaks to George Osborne regularly and those inside Whitehall know… Continue reading

Croupiers Hone Their Skills At Casino School

Morning of the Blunt Knives - Spectator Blogs

4 September 2012 13:40

Provided you remember a few simple rules the Expectations Game should be the easiest test to pass in politics. It is not complicated: under-promise and over-deliver. Or, more succinctly, never… Continue reading

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Jeremy Hunt has made an unexpected comeback. Photo: Getty Images.

Morale, communication and party discipline are key to David Cameron’s first reshuffle

4 September 2012 13:14

Iain Duncan Smith’s decision to stay at DWP means that the reshuffle is not quite as radical as some in Downing Street were hoping it would be. But it still… Continue reading

IDS will be staying put at the DWP. Photo: Getty Images.

Exclusive: why IDS was offered Justice, and how he turned it down

4 September 2012 10:09

Yesterday afternoon, David Cameron met with Iain Duncan Smith. According to a Downing Street source, IDS was offered the job of Justice Secretary. But the Prime Minister did make clear… Continue reading

Iain Duncan Smith's department has come under fire for failing to secure adequate financial penalties from Atos Healthcare. Photo: Getty Images.

The weak contract worth £100 million

17 August 2012 18:05

Moving people off sickness benefits and back into the workplace was never going to be an easy job. It’s a sensitive process dealing with all the grey areas that complex… Continue reading


Good jobs news goes against grain

15 August 2012 11:16

Ministers are generally cautious in welcoming falls in unemployment in case they represent a blip for just one quarter. But Iain Duncan Smith was pretty chipper this morning when the… Continue reading


Victory for ministers on ‘slave labour’ schemes

6 August 2012 16:45

Ministers were relieved today when the High Court ruled that the Work and Pensions Department’s back-to-work schemes are not ‘forced labour’ and do not breach human rights. The case had… Continue reading

David Cameron outside the door of Downing Street, Getty Images

The secret seven

22 July 2012 13:38

David Cameron’s decision to convene an inner Cabinet of seven Tories to advise him is a sensible move. As I say in the Mail on Sunday, calling this group together… Continue reading