IDS benefit petition delivery

A petition signed more than 450,000 people calling for Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to live off £53 a week will be delivered to his office today.

Nearly half a million sign Iain Duncan Smith petition

A petition signed by 450,000 people calling for Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to live off £53 a week will be delivered to his office today.

Protesters are angry at sweeping welfare reforms and the Cabinet minister's claim he could live off the amount if he had to.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

Musician and part-time shop worker Dominic Aversano, from Twickenham, near London, started the petition, which Mr Duncan Smith has dismissed as "a complete stunt".

Mr Aversano, 28, said: "[The petition] has sent a powerful message to this Government, showing the level of opposition to their vicious welfare cuts."

Osborne deflects question about living on £53 a week

On Sunday, the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said if he "had to" he could live on £53 a week, as one benefit recipient argued they were having to, in a BBC interview.

After the Chancellor gave a speech on welfare, ITV News' Political Correspondent Libby Weiner asked him if he could live on £53 pounds a week.

George Osborne replied: "I don't think it's sensible to reduce this debate to an argument about individual's set of circumstances, and the example that was given on the BBC radio".

Advertisement

More than 180,000 sign IDS £53 a week petition

An online petition calling on Iain Duncan Smith to demonstrate he can live on £53 per week has attracted more than 180,000 signatures.

Yesterday, the Work and Pensions Secretary told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he could live on this amount if he "had to".

The petition calls on Iain Duncan Smith to live on this budget for at least one year. Credit: change.org

According the change.org petition, "this would a 97% reduction in his current income, which is £1,581.02 a week or £225 a day after tax".

100,000 sign petition urging IDS to live on £53 a week

Iain Duncan Smith has said the coalition's changes to benefits are about "fairness".

But the Work and Pensions Secretary was facing a backlash today after suggesting that he could get by on £53 a week, as one benefit recipient argued they were having to, rather than his current after-tax income of £1,600 a week.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. Credit: Press Association

"If I had to I would," Mr Duncan Smith told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

In the wake of the comment, more than 100,000 people have signed a petition on the change.org website, calling for the minister to try surviving on that money for a year.