Iain Duncan Smith has been invited to revisit a poverty-stricken Glasgow constituency, where he famously pledged ‘compassionate Conservatism’ during a visit in 2002.
The Tory Work and Pensions Secretary was reported to have been “nearly moved to tears” over shocking levels of deprivation seen in the community, and vowed to help if the Tories came to power.
Since his visit in 2002, local residents have been devastated by ideologically driven cuts to welfare benefits such as the hated ‘bedroom tax’ and widely condemned benefit sanctions regime.
Mr Duncan Smith has now be urged to revisit Glasgow East by SNP disability spokesperson Natalie McGarry, in order to see for himself how Tory policies have impacted upon the community.
Natalie McGarry, who is also the constituency MP, said: “It’s now over thirteen years since the Work and Pensions Secretary made the trip to my constituency and was touched by the levels of desperation and poverty that he encountered.
“There have been many positive changes to the area since 2002, however after speaking to many of my constituents and organisations who work tackling absolute poverty here in Easterhouse, there is a definite appetite to re-engage with Iain Duncan Smith.
“When he visited last time he spoke about his belief in ‘compassionate conservatism’ and that ‘everyone should have enough money to live properly in their community.’
“It is clear that many in my constituency are not only unable to do that, but in fact their lives have made significantly worse by the actions of Iain Duncan Smith’s department.
“From the bedroom tax to the benefit sanctions regime, the Tories’ policies have been a direct attack on many people across my constituency. I hope that my sincere invitation is accepted and Mr Duncan Smith will be able to see that first hand.”
In a letter to Iain Duncan Smith, Natalie McGarry writes:
As the Member of Parliament for Glasgow East – which includes Easterhouse – I would like to extend an invitation to Iain Duncan Smith to my constituency to visit organisations which are advising my constituents on the impact of welfare changes in the last parliament, and are preparing for those announced in the Welfare and Work Reform Bill.
As you will be well aware, the Secretary of State visited Easterhouse in 2002 and stated, “Everyone should have enough money to live properly in their own community”. He called the approach “compassionate Conservativism”. Indeed, Easterhouse has been quoted as the catalyst and inspiration for The Secretary of State’s approach to welfare reform.
As a new MP for the area, I have spoken to many of my constituents and the organisations and community groups who are tackling absolute poverty in the area and there is most definitely an appetite to re-engage with him to challenge some assumptions made and the approach being taken by the Conservative Government.
Whilst I recognise that the Secretary of State has many commitments on his time, I am willing to leave the schedule and time flexible to his diary. Having quoted extensively on his experience in Easterhouse, it is beyond time that they are able to provide some feed back to him.
Thanking you in advance of a positive response to a very reasonable request.
Member of Parliament for Glasgow East
A DWP spokesperson was unable to confirm whether Iain Duncan Smith would visit the residents of Glasgow East, but insisted:
“Our welfare reforms are transforming the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities.”