Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith was caught lying yet again today after he claimed that homeless figures had “hardly moved” under the Con-Dem coalition.
The millionaire minister tossed out the claim in a huff over harsh criticisms on the launch of his new household benefit cap.
The £500 per family per week limit, which is lowered to £350 for a single person, has been criticised for its “one-size-hits-all” approach.
More than half of the households affected include four or more children, according to the government’s own research.
The resulting cut will see those families pushed £10.88 a week below the poverty line set by Mr Duncan Smith’s own department.
Meanwhile housing campaigners say the inclusion of housing benefit in the cap will sting households for rents that they have no control over.
A leaked letter from Communities Secretary Eric Pickles’s office warned the cap would leave 20,000 households homeless, on top of another 20,000 made homeless by the bedroom tax.
But Mr Duncan Smith brazenly told a BBC news anchor today that he did not “believe” the Con-Dems’ policies had forced people out of their homes.
“The great talk about thousands being made homeless has not come true – the homeless figures hardly moved at all,” he claimed.
But figures from Mr Duncan Smith’s own department show a 10 per cent rise in statutory homelessness in the last year alone.
More than 55,300 households were in temporary accommodation care of their local authority at the end of March.
The homeless figure in England has risen by around 27 per cent since the Con-Dems came to power in 2010, according to reports by the House of Commons Library, although campaigners say the real number is far higher as many claimants are turned away.
Mr Duncan Smith has a history of misinformation. In April he bragged that “8,000 people who would have been affected by the (benefit) cap” had since got jobs.
But the UK Statistics Authority said that claim was “unsupported by official evidence.”
The arch-Tory bristled at the rebuke – but when questioned again today still could not stump up the figures.
“The reality is, I believe that to be right,” he fumed.
Meanwhile Child Poverty Action Group’s Tim Nicholls told the Morning Star the real problem with housing benefit was taxpayer cash “going to the landlord, not the claimant.”
Years of politicians’ pandering to property speculators meant that in most cases it would be state help for a family’s rent that activates the cap.
“We need politicians to start taking the tough decisions to bring down sky-high rents instead of punishing the victims of the housing crisis,” he said.