Iain Duncan Smith calls for ‘cultural change’ to cut welfare bill

Britain needs a ‘cultural change’ if it is going to cut spending on benefits, according to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Simply ‘cheese slicing’ the budget will not be enough, and he accused previous governments of simply ‘patching up’ a fundamentally broken system.

Iain Duncan Smith made the comments in a speech to a right-wing think tank, Policy Exchange, in London. He said he wants to see ‘internal and external cultural change’ in the coming years, not just ‘political and technocratic’ welfare reform. He continued:

‘By this I mean cultural change both within society, and within government itself. We are faced with a fundamental challenge. Millions of people stuck on out of work benefits. Millions not saving nearly enough for their retirement. And government addicted to spending levels as a measurement of success, rather than life change as a measurement of success.’

Duncan Smith says the answer to problems in the benefit system is to ‘change the way you reform... recalibrating whole systems so that you change behaviours’. He says the government is redesigning the benefits system almost from scratch, making the ‘journey’ experienced by claimants ‘more attractive, smoother, quicker, more supportive’. Welfare spending will be brought back under control by reducing the effective demand on the system, by changing people’s incentives.

Source: Speech by Iain Duncan Smith MP (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions), 9 May 2012

Links: Speech | Daily Express report | Daily Telegraph report

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