Call for minister to live on breadline

2013-04-03 19:16

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".

  • Avremel Niselow - 2013-04-03 19:32

    I suggest the same thing for Zuma, or at least a house costing only R125 million.

      Mahesh Visram - 2013-04-03 20:47

      never, same thing for zuma and all his members there in parliament R1200-00 a month, no housing, no food, no lights and water either, they have to pay for it with what they get

      Ndumiso Mabaso - 2013-04-03 21:31

      the same applies to Helen Zille and all the white cronies who grossly benefited from Apartheid

      Avremel Niselow - 2013-04-03 22:02

      The difference is that Zille is actually capable of leading without stealing everything in sight.

      Magda Henning - 2013-04-04 10:43

      Ndumiso, did you read the papers this morning? Trevor Manual said that the ANC should stop blaming apartheid and take responsibility. I think that includes the ANC supporters. Stop blaming apartheid "IDIOT"

      Dot Svornak - 2013-04-07 11:11

      Ndumiso,get that chip off your shoulder buffoon,you know as well as all of us this country would not have been the powerhouse of Africa were it not for people like Zille,cricky man when the first white settlars came here your people didn't know what a wheel was for.So give credit where is due,if no whites were here you would still be living in fear of differant tribes,wearing animal skins,bones through your nose & eating one another.P.S at least Zille doesn't steal,unlike her counterparts elswhere,she rules the Wstern Cape effeciantly the cleanest province in S.Africa.I grew up in Pretoria,it makes my blood boil to see how filthy & run down this city has become in less than 20 yrs,the culprits you and those of your ilk.

  • Arp Liebenberg - 2013-04-03 21:37

    Ndumiso you have no idea what you're talking!

      Conrad Johannes - 2013-04-04 10:28

      @Ndumiso: Not all whites benefited from apartheid. Most had to work their behind of to get a proper education and then start at the bottom of the company and work even harder to make it to the top. It was not simply given to them.

  • Dot Svornak - 2013-04-07 11:32

    Ndumiso,Just for the record most whites worked up to 20hour days to make ends meet,my own brother started work at the age of 11 myself at 13 illigal I know,but we had to eat your kind want everything free with no effort on your part.So don't blieve the crap you read in the new history books,if you wanted tertiary study with no money you had to work no freebies from the APARTHEID government,today you people even DEMAND condums and sanitary towels all for free.Bloody idiots.

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