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UK Politics

Iain Duncan Smith says Council of Europe's criticism of UK benefits system is ‘lunacy’


The UK’s benefits and state pension are too low, the Council of Europe said yesterday – a claim that Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith dismissed as “lunacy”.

In a report, European Committee of Social Rights said the UK was in breach of the European social charter because jobseeker’s allowance, incapacity benefits and the state pension are all “manifestly inadequate”. Jobseeker’s allowance is £67 a week, incapacity benefit is £71 a week and the state pension is £102 a week.

The committee said the payments are below 40 per cent of the median income of European states. However, Mr Duncan Smith said the UK welfare system was a “valuable and fair safety net”.