Iain Duncan Smith said today that he could live off £53 per week, as some unemployed people affected by the Bedroom Tax are as of today, ‘if he had to’.
Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Duncan Smith was asked whether he could live on £7.57 a day.
“If I had to I would,” he replied.
He added: “We are in an economic mess.
“We inherited a problem where we simply don’t have the money to spend on all the things that everybody people would like us to do. What I am trying to do is get this so we don’t spend money on things which are unfair.”
Of course, he never will have to, even if he were to have his £135,000 annual salary plus 5-figure expenses cut by some fairy godmother with a strong sense of social justice, because he’s married to a millionaire heiress. He’s never going to have to worry about how to pay his rent.
Here are some other things he’ll never have to do:
– put up with damp, cold, overcrowded housing long-term because he can’t afford to move
– choose to eat beans on toast or own-brand Supernoodles for tea himself so he can afford to give his kids vegetables
– skip breakfast himself so he can make sure his teenage kids eat before they go to school
– choose whether to put £5 in the gas meter so he can have heating and hot water to wash or £5 in the electricity meter so he can cook a hot meal, because he can’t afford to do both
– go without new clothes until everything he owns is frayed at the cuffs or has holes in the knees, then have a choice of charity shop or freecycle to replace them, so that he can buy his kids their mandatory school uniform from the shop which doesn’t accept council vouchers
– buy his children £3 shoes from Lidl because they just keep growing
– fumble with pennies and milk tokens in front of the whole queue at the supermarket while everyone stares at him then apologise to the cashier because he still hasn’t got quite enough to pay and he’ll have to put something back
It’s easy to say you could do something, when you know you’ll never have to. Words are cheap.