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.
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:
When Iain Duncan Smith starts living on £53 a week there will be a webcam, right?
— JamesLyons (@MirrorJames) April 1, 2013
Iain Duncan Smith thinks you could live on £53 a week if he “had to”. Lost. For. Words.
— Bobbie Johnson (@bobbiejohnson) April 1, 2013
I almost expected Iain Duncan Smith to add “APRIL FOOL!” after saying he could live on £53 a week. Sadly not.
— Jonathan Haynes (@JonathanHaynes) April 1, 2013
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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