150 Conservatives packed in to the Ballroom at the Broadway Hotel to hear Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, explain his vision for the reform of welfare in this country. He told the audience that personal experience of working with disadvantaged communities through the Centre for Social Justice had led him to believe that worklessness is at the root of many social problems. At the time of the election 20% of households in this country had no-one in work and in some families this had been the situation for three generations.
This had to change and the Government's welfare reforms were focussed on helping benefit claimants who are fit to work to find work. Often this would require basic education and skills training, but where this had been tried, it was successful for many individuals. He pointed out that the new Universal Credit which will replace current benefits will always ensure that a person is better off in work than on benefits. Oliver Heald MP gave the vote of thanks and Iain Duncan Smith answered questions.
During his speech, Iain pointed out that Oliver had been a great ally over the reforms and had indeed undertaken some of the initial research when he was persuaded to spend a week living in a homeless hostel in Sheffield.