Duncan Smith’s ideology (Elizabeth Stickle)

I congratulate Jane Leask for her hurriedly arranged demonstration against the appalling “bedroom tax” and I wish her well in future events.

The protest highlighted the effect this tax is having on individuals suffering from social, physical, psychological or emotional problems. The extra stress caused is making their condition worse, especially if staff caring for them are scarce, but the Citizens Advice Bureau as always is doing an excellent job.

In the national press last week a loophole was found in respect of the “bedroom tax”. Paedophiles and rapists will be exempt from a cut in housing benefits for tenants with spare rooms because these people are almost impossible to rehouse and could not be expected to rent out a spare room to a lodger. Nevertheless, they have to be cared for by appropriate personnel.

Therefore, the Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith has not done his homework properly. It is all ideology! He lives in a £2 million Tudor house – dubbed a “mini Chequers” – an ancestrial home belonging to his wife who comes from a multi-millionaire aristocratic family. His home is complete with tennis court and swimming pool.

I question how Mr Duncan Smith knows so much about the vulnerable in society. I would have thought one would have had to have worked with them to know that.

Mr Duncan Smith has been unemployed twice, once as a 26 to 27-year-old on leaving the army and later when he was made redundant. He was a young man then and I presume able to move to find employment and there would have been a difference between the cost of living then and now.

In respect of the cuts in welfare benefits it is little wonder that four main churches are concerned about these, and the new Pope is a great ambassador for the poor.

The majority of less well off and other folk on benefits want to work but often work isn’t available, or they don’t get the support of appropriate individuals who should be helping them.

Regarding housing costs being paid directly to the claimant this didn’t work out in one of the best studios in London when such people got the money, spent it, and left the local authority in arrears.

I hope every person in Shetland who is worse off financially by the new welfare state lobbies their Member of Parliament and Mr Duncan Smith, if able to do so.

The current coalition government has left the poor less well off and the rich better off. That would be the legacy of the Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP.

Elizabeth Stickle
74 Cockburn Crescent,


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