Duncan Smith’s comments misjudged

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If you mount a legal challenge against a ruling by the Works and Pension Secretary, who in court is most 
important: the judges or Iain Duncan Smith?

With scant regard to personal modesty, clearly Mr Duncan Smith thinks he is and brands the unanimous decision of three judges as “rubbish” (your report, 18 February).

Not content with his display of self-importance, he then makes a petulant attack on graduate Cait Reilly, who challenged his ruling and won, by belittling her geology degree in an unfair comparison with shelf-stacking.

I very rarely agree with Tory MP Nadine Dorries but she hit the nail on the head when she declared Britain was being run by posh boys who did not know the price of a pint of milk. Iain Duncan Smith falls into this category. Perhaps he might also like to tell us who will be funding the removal and associated expenses of people who are required to move into smaller houses to avoid the “bedroom tax”.

In his reply to a question over the weekend, Mr Duncan Smith emphatically stated that pensioners would not suffer from this tax, but it appears this is not to be the case.

John R Murdoch

Aldour Gardens


I was astounded by the arrogance of Iain Duncan Smith. He really seems to be prejudiced against unemployed people. The question I have to ask is: would Mr Duncan Smith work for nothing?

There are a lot of people in Britain desperately seeking work with very little support. A work placement should only be considered an option if there is going to be a vacancy arising within the near ­future with that employer. In this way people on a placement could show the potential employer their skills.

Otherwise, I see little benefit to unemployed people of unpaid placements and only big employers will gain from free labour.

Gordon Kennedy

Simpson Square


Do graduates who complain about the quality of work experience programmes consider themselves “too good” for certain types of employment?

I think Iain Duncan Smith misses the point over the recent court case regarding the type of programme offered at Poundland. Some of these schemes are inconsistent with human dignity.

If a job needs to be done in any organisation the individual employee should be paid the appropriate rate of pay for the time they are with the company.

Simply compelling an individual to attend a workplace or face losing their benefit is simply wrong.

There might be some justification if organisations were actually offering a structured training programme but this does not appear to be the case for many on placement.

The government and the courts must do more than just clarifying the terms of such back-to-work programmes. They need to make clear that when an identifiable job is being done, the standard rate of pay for that job should apply.
Numerous agencies are now involved in helping this scheme to operate.

They need to avoid giving the impression that they are the purveyors of cheap labour, showing a disdain for the dignity of the many people who are jobless.

Iain Duncan Smith has sown the seeds of disillusionment with the government over this issue.

Most unemployed people do not see themselves “above” stacking shelves for a supermarket or other organisation. But they do consider themselves worthy of respect and the right to be treated with the same degree of fairness that should apply to any­one who provides a service and to be appropriately ­remunerated.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court