Iain Duncan Smith: Reforms 'make work pay'

Senior government ministers have been defending major changes to welfare that are coming into force, saying they make the system fairer.

Social housing tenants of working age will have their benefits reduced if they have a spare bedroom.

Low income households in many local authorities in England will also start paying council tax for the first time. And annual increases in benefits will be subject to a one percent cap.

Critics argue that the poorest are being hit hardest but the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, insisted his aim was to make it worthwhile to be in work.

Speaking to the Today programme's John Humphrys, he explained that the reforms are "about holding back on the costs".

He said that the government "is modernising the welfare system so that work always pays.

"Universal Credit means the poorest get the highest level of money, and that is the best way to deal with youth poverty, to deal with child poverty, and to deal with homes that are workless."

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday 1 April 2013.