Iain Duncan Smith is obviously unrepentant. He was taken to task, you remember, for coming out with dodgy figures to justify his benefits cap, but said he believed it so it must be true. He still hasn't faced the Work and Pensions Select Committee to answer for this (although his civil servants did). Now he's doing it again. The odious Express tells us that "16,500 find jobs after clamp on benefits" in a headline, and goes on: "Tough but fair reforms to Britain's broken benefits system have helped 16,500 claimants back into work, new figures reveal." The sceptical may already perceive that there's something wrong here. What's the actual connection between this nice round number and any specific benefits change? Well, "The people living in potentially-benefit capped households were helped to find the posts by Jobcentre Plus over 18 months." Now, this is the sort of distortion that the statistics people got cross about before. There is no proven connection between the number getting jobs (who may or may not have been "helped" by JCP) and the potential for household benefits to be capped. Yet the article proceeds on the assumption that the cap is making the idle get a job. "The figures, revealed exclusively to the Daily Express, showed that Mr Duncan Smith's promise to 'make work pay' is starting to change a culture where some lifelong layabouts viewed benefits as a limitless cash machine."
Surely it's time for the select committee to do its job and hold IDS to account. As well as the dodgy statistics, there's his failure to publish any data on sanctions. If Dame Anne Begg and her committee are not concerned about this, what is their purpose?