UK minister asked to make good on welfare pledge

Iain Duncan Smith said he could survive on what a welfare recipient has after paying for rent and heat.

Olivia Harris/REUTERS

Iain Duncan Smith said he could survive on what a welfare recipient has after paying for rent and heat.

LONDON — A British government minister is being asked to put his money where his mouth is.

Opponents of a raft of welfare changes that took effect this week want Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to make good on a claim that he could live on $80 a week, the amount that one welfare recipient said he has left after paying for housing and heat.


Asked on national radio Monday whether he could get by on so little, Duncan Smith replied: ‘‘If I had to, I would.’’

By Tuesday afternoon, some 250,000 people had signed a petition urging him to prove it.

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That would mean living on $11.43 a day in London, one of the most expensive cities in the world. It would also reflect a huge comedown: a 97 percent cut in his government minister’s salary.

Duncan Smith said that he had been unemployed twice and knew what it was like ‘‘to live on the bread line.’’

Associated Press

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