Between a rock and a hard place? Iain Duncan Smith challenged by geologists over Poundland case comments
Monday 18 February 2013
The row over a flagship Government employment programme took another twist today when geologists hit back at comments made by a Cabinet minister.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said at the weekend he would not back down over the work experience scheme despite a High Court ruling that the rules of the scheme were unclear.
He issued a direct rebuke to university graduate Cait Reilly, 24, from Birmingham, who challenged having to work for free at a local Poundland discount store or face losing jobless benefits.
The minister told the BBC: "The next time these smart people who say there's something wrong with this go into their supermarket, ask themselves this simple question: when they can't find the food on the shelves, who is more important: them, the geologist or the person who's stacked the shelves."
The Geological Society of London said it was "surprised" at the comments. Professor Alan Lord, the society's secretary for foreign and external affairs, said it was an "unhelpful way" to frame the argument, adding: "Geologists are a vital part of that supply chain - mining the minerals essential for fertilisers, obtaining metal ores, discovering the fuel which transports produce to the store, and engineering our transport infrastructure.
"Without geologists, there would be no way to supply supermarkets with produce, no transport for customers or staff - no shelves, in fact.
"We would be surprised if Mr Duncan Smith considered geology graduates anything less than equally vital to the economy as those who stack supermarket shelves.
"Many geologists spend a lot of time in challenging conditions - on oil rigs in the North Sea, in trenches and mines, conducting field work in all weathers. We certainly do not consider ourselves above shelf stacking."
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Orphan kangaroos spend Christmas without their parents
Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Isis 'did not shoot down Jordan war plane' before capturing pilot, says US
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...