Outrage In UK After Conservative Politician Says He Could Live On $11.50 A Day

Iain Duncan Smith

Iain Duncan Smith, currently the Work and Pensions Secretary in the British government and former leader of the Conservative Party, has raised some eyebrows by saying he could live on £53 ($80.60) a week.

That’s just £7.57 ($11.50) a day.

According to the Telegraph, Duncan Smith said he would live on the sum — the lowest rate of jobseeker’s allowance given to adults under 25 — if he “had to”.

The MP made the claim in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today program, where he was attempting to justify cuts to welfare payments imposed by the Conservative Government. These cuts, which went into practice today, are part of wider austerity measures that are proving especially controversial in the country.

Duncan Smith’s own finances are being looked at sceptically since he made the comment.

The Telegraph notes that he earns £1,581.02 ($2401) a week at present — £225 ($342.79) a day after tax — and that he married “into a family of multi-millionaires”, while Alex Hern at the New Statesman points towards expense reports that show Duncan Smith once spent £12.42 ($18.86) on a USB cable.

Online, the response has mostly taken the news as incredulous:

At the time of writing over 28,000 people have signed a petition for Duncan Smith to live on the figure.

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