Scottish Daily Mail

IDS savages BBC over its welfare reform ‘bias’

- By James Chapman Political Editor

IAIN Duncan Smith has launched the strongest Government attack on the BBC since the last election, accusing it of being a ‘bigger opponent’ of welfare reform than even the Labour Party.

The Work and Pensions Secretary reacted with fury yesterday after the BBC led its bulletins with more criticism of the Government’s changes to the bloated benefits system.

The corporatio­n seized on leaked documents showing that the costs of employment and support allowance, the main sickness benefit, were rising, meaning the Government was ‘vulnerable’ to a breach of its new welfare cap.

Ministers said the suggestion they would exceed their own limit on benefit spending was ‘outrageous’.

Mr Duncan Smith claimed the corporatio­n had run five negative stories this week alone about sickness and disability benefits, and ‘ignored’ a major announceme­nt on an extension of his flagship new universal credit.

‘Who is the biggest opponent of welfare reform? Not a weak

‘Relentless­ly negative’

Labour Party but the relentless­ly negative BBC,’ he said.

‘This Government is fixing the broken and bloated welfare system left behind by Labour – a system which trapped the very people it was designed to help into cycles of worklessne­ss and welfare dependency.

‘We have successful­ly introduced the benefits cap to make sure a life on benefits must not be more attractive than working and we have achieved record employment.

‘But the BBC news appears to consistent­ly rely on a narrow band of commentato­rs who are overwhelmi­ngly negative.’

The Department for Work and Pensions is understood to have lodged a formal complaint about yesterday’s coverage.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘We are satisfied that our coverage of welfare spending has been fair, balanced and impartial.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom