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Tory benefits smartcard plan will stigmatise the poor

This news post is about 8 years old

​Anti-poverty group says Iain Duncan Smith's proposals send out the wrong message

Anti-poverty campaigners have condemned Iain Duncan Smith’s announcement that people experiencing poverty should receive benefits via a pre-paid smart card which can only be used to buy essentials.

The secretary of state for work and pensions has stated that benefits would be loaded onto this pre-paid card and transactions would be automatically stopped if people tried to pay for anything which wasn’t deemed essential.

The Poverty Alliance has said that this will increase the stigma attached to experiencing poverty and reinforces the mistaken belief that the reasons for poverty are individual rather than structural.

This not only increases the stigma of being in receipt of benefits but puts the blame on the individual

Peter Kelly, the group’s director, said: “This is an unwelcome and disgraceful move from the secretary of state for work and pensions.

“This not only increases the stigma of being in receipt of benefits but puts the blame on the individual.

“The causes of poverty are political, there is no need for poverty to exist and if this government made a real commitment to tackling poverty then millions of people could see their circumstances improve.

“Instead we have seen a punitive regime of welfare reform and more and more people being pushed into poverty.

“Moving to a pre-paid smart card will undermine the dignity and rights of people in receipt of benefits.

“It is because of actions like these that the Stick Your Labels campaign was formed.

“Politicians should know better than to use divisive, stigmatising language when talking about people experiencing poverty.

“This speech by Iain Duncan Smith has been very unhelpful and we would urge him to seriously re-consider these plans”.



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