Call for minister to live on breadline

2013-04-03 19:16
Britain’s Works and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith (Leon Neal, AFP)

Britain’s Works and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith (Leon Neal, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - An online petition calling for a British minister to survive on £53 a week, after he claimed he knew what it was like to live on the breadline, had attracted the support of over 370 000 people by Wednesday.

The petition was launched after Works and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith told a man, who runs a market stall, that he could live on the measly amount if he had to.

Duncan Smith, of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party, dismissed the petition as a "complete stunt", but it has prompted a wider backlash against a raft of welfare reforms that come into effect this week.

Market trader David Bennett asked on BBC radio on Tuesday if Duncan Smith could live on £53, to which the minister replied: "If I had to I would."

The petition was subsequently set up by a musician, challenging the minister to give up his £134 565 yearly salary and live on just over £200 a month.

The online petition, hosted at, says: "This petition calls on Iain Duncan Smith to live on this budget for at least one year. This would help realise the Conservative Party's current mantra that 'We are all in this together'.

"This would mean a 97% reduction in his current income, which is £1 581.02 a week, or £225 a day, after tax."

Duncan Smith, a former leader of the Conservative Party, told his local constituency newspaper in northeast London, that he had twice been unemployed in his life and knew what it was like "to live on the breadline".

"This is a complete stunt which distracts attention from the welfare reforms that are much more important and which I have been working hard to get done," he said in the Wanstead and Woodford Guardian.

Duncan Smith is married to an aristocrat and lives in a 17th century mansion.

A raft of reforms began to take effect this week as the coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats seeks to cut welfare spending.

In one of the measures, 660 000 public housing tenants deemed to have a spare room began to lose an average of 14 a week in welfare payments in what critics have dubbed a "bedroom tax".

Read more on:    david cameron

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.