Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith MP, has been accused of being a coward after making a quick escape via the back door of a Jobcentre, rather than confront a group of protesters waiting for him outside.
Iain Duncan Smith was visiting a Jobcentre in Bath to see how a trial of his flagship Universal Credit welfare reform, which rolls a number of state benefits into one single monthly payment, was performing in the city.
Around 26 protesters had gathered in front of the Jobcentre hoping to confront the Tory MP after a local council report suggested that coalition welfare cuts were fuelling a housing crisis in the city.
According to the report, Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms had resulted in a surge in social housing waiting lists and an increase in eviction notices being issued against local tenants.
Rather than meet with protesters to answer their concerns, who had formed a human barricade in front of the building to block his car, Iain Duncan Smith decided to wait for his car to be moved to the rear of the building before slipping out of the back door and making a sharp getaway.
George Aylett, a student who had taken the day off to confront Iain Duncan Smith, told the Western Daily Press:
“He ducked down in the back of his car – how pathetic.
“He can’t even be bothered to come out here and hear what we have to say – we don’t want to hurt him, [we just want] him to understand that people are suffering because of his policies.
“He’s being a coward. He’s pathetic. He’s meant to be representing us – yet he won’t even come to hear what we have to say.”
“He obviously doesn’t care. He can’t claim to care about us if he does this.”
Jackie Hunt-Phillips, 44, added: ”If he’s so proud of his policies then why isn’t he walking through the front entrance with pride? If I had done something I was proud of I would walk high with pride, I’d tell everyone what I’d done. He’s obviously ashamed of what he has done – that’s why he is too scared to come and talk to us.”
Source – Welfare News Service, 08 March 2014