Tory conference: We are party of poor - Duncan Smith

Iain Duncan Smith Iain Duncan Smith said Labour's spending had done little to alleviate inequality

The Conservatives are now "the party of the poor," Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said.

He told a meeting at the Tories' annual conference that his party, rather than Labour, had the best policies to tackle inequality.

The previous government had spent "vast sums" but made the gap between rich and poor worse, he said.

But Mr Duncan Smith conceded the coalition's changes would take a "little while" to bear results.

Addressing a meeting arranged by the Centre for Social Justice think-tank, which he himself established, the minister said: "We are the party focused on the poor, so it follows that you might legitimately say that we are the party of the poor."


Even though Labour had tried to lift people out of poverty, "some of the people in the people in the deepest poverty went backwards" under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, he added.

"Labour spent vast sums of money and left income inequality in the worst state since I have been born," said Mr Duncan Smith, who was Conservative leader from 2001 to 2003.

Putting this right would be "like turning a supertanker around" and it was going to be a "little while" before the results of his policies became obvious.

But he said the welfare-to-work programme and a plan for a Universal Benefit payments, due to start coming into effect in 2013, would succeed in getting more people into employment.

"Things the last government talked about we have managed to do," he claimed.


Mr Duncan Smith spoke of the difficulties of working within a coalition government, arguing: "We won't compromise on much by the end of it. The reality is it is all about timing."

He took a swipe at "sneery" newspaper columnists who criticised the government's plan to favour marriage in the tax system and who claimed that people would not walk up the aisle for a few extra pounds a month.

"People who have money make stupid arguments like that," he said, adding that the focus of his department's efforts was on "couple formation" rather than marriage.

"If they were to stay together for an extended period of time that would be a great leap forward," he said of couples on the breadline.

The coalition was "dealing with causes of social breakdown", whereas predecessors had pursued a "containment policy".

This meant they had spent "a lot of money to keep people inactive and depressed about their lives".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    After listening to some of the Tory Conference it sounded more like convention for political Derek Trotters trying to see who can come up with the most ludicrous clap trap that will hood wink Jo Public. With some not wanting to be out done they had to resort to the extremes that emulated a Monty Python sketch.
    Doug and Dinsdale Piranah live.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    I have recieved a letter about my pension fund and it is £300m short.
    The net results of Thatchers employers pension holidays when there was a pension slush fund.
    My retirement prospects dont look too good when I might try and retire in 12 years time.
    At least I can sleep at night because millionaire Tories have my interests at heart and I will be looked after by the party for the poor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    D Cameron has unvailed his great economic plan for the UK today. Every one must pay off their debts. Good sound advice that will balance the banks books and the share holders, bank managers and Tory hangers on who are trustees of some banks can take a lovely big bonus.
    Sound like good economic advice to help out your local friendly Tory MP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    The nasty party are back in power. They represent the top 2% of the population and are interested in:- cutting taxes for the top 2% and raising them for everybody else. They have done the second already. The first wil follow shortly when the top 2% get their income tax cut from 50% to 40%.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    I think that quote was aspirational since within a few years there will be vastly more poor people than rich ones such that to get elected again the Conservatives would have to be the party of the poor else they would never get back in.


Comments 5 of 244


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