Duncan Smith outlines radical welfare reforms

Work and Pensions Secretary promises to transform Britain's "bust" welfare system.

The coalition government is to lay out its plans for radical reform of Britain's "bust" welfare system. The new Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, plans to create a new welfare to work programme that makes benefits more conditional on willingness to work.

Duncan Smith claims that at present it is not worth going from the dole into work if the job pays £15,000 or less. He told the Guardian that many people on benefits view those who take up job offers as "bloody morons".

He said: "If you are unemployed and you come from a family that is unemployed, all you can see when you think about work is risk. It is a real risk because for all the efforts you make the rewards are very minimal and in some cases none at all.

"Socially, everyone says, 'You are a bloody moron - why are you doing this?"'

Duncan Smith also suggested that ministers were prepared to cut back on welfare payments targeted at the middle class. "My general view is that the benefit system is a deeply ineffective and costly way of subsidising people's lives. If you want to help people above a certain income the route to do that is through tax - it is simple, straightforward and easy. The benefit system is about helping people in difficulty," he said.

He promised to speed up the assessment of all those on incapacity benefit and said that those deemed able to work would be moved onto jobseeker's allowance.

He said: "People basically get parked on [incapacity] benefit and forgotten about. If you have been on this benefit for more than two years, you are likely to die on it."

The government's Welfare Reform Bill, included in Tuesday's Queen's Speech, will be pushed through parliament over the next few months.