People who refuse to get a job are responsible for increasing the level of immigration into the UK, according to Iain Duncan Smith.
In a speech on Monday, the Work and Pensions Secretary will reverse the claim that migrants are taking jobs that otherwise would have gone to British people by saying they are coming to Britain because of the number of British people who choose to live on benefits.
He will also insist that the economy will not recover completely unless people currently on benefits “play a full and productive part”.
“Immigration into the UK has been a supply and demand issue,” he will tell an audience in London, according to extracts of his speech published in The Daily Telegraph.
“Businesses needed the labour and because of the way our benefit system was constructed, too few of the economically inactive took the jobs on offer.”
Video: IDS - Half of newly created jobs taken by foreign nationals
The Conservatives are reportedly considering making further cuts to welfare and Mr Duncan Smith suggests he believes there is more to be done.
“The core and point of the economic plan, the driving force, is the quality of the people who make it happen — the British people — for no plan can work unless their wellbeing is at the heart of it,” he said. “But none of this is deliverable if we don’t deal with the British domestic problem.
“This economy can never be where it should, holding its own in this tough world marketplace, unless British families play a full productive part in that plan.”
Last month, Labour’s shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hilary Benn, warned that the Government’s welfare reforms were causing “misery for hundreds of thousands of the poorest people, driving them into courts and into debt”.
“This is the Government effectively raising taxes for the very poorest,” he said as new figures revealed more than 2.3 million people in England – including war widows, carers and disabled people -- were set to have their council tax benefit withdrawn or significantly cut.
In July last year, David Clapson, 59, who had diabetes, died in his flat in Stevenage from an acute lack of insulin after his benefits were withdrawn because he missed to appointments with Jobcentre staff. His electricity was cut off, so the fridge containing his insulin was not working. He was found to have nothing in his stomach and £3.44 in his bank account.
“I don't think anyone should die like that in this country, alone, hungry and penniless,” his sister Gill Thompson told The Guardian this month. “They must know that sanctioning people with diabetes is very dangerous. I am upset with the system; they are treating everyone as statistics and numbers.”