IAIN Duncan Smith has denied benefit sanctions have pushed people to suicide and claimed figures showing a rise in foodbank use were wrong.

The Work and Pensions secretary told MPs that there had always been sanctions and he didn’t think there was a link between people having their money cut and taking their own life.

During an evidence session with the Work and Pensions Committee at Westminster Mr Duncan Smith also announced a trial programme where a Jobcentre advisor was placed in a foodbank to help people with claims and finding work.

Challenged by Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck on welfare reforms pushing people to kill themselves, he said: “I don't accept your assertion somehow that these things are directly linked.

"These are tragedies in their own right and they are often very complex as individual cases.

"Sanctions have been part of the benefit system for some time. Under the last Labour government they were accepted as part of the benefit system. I always accepted them. I always recognised there were issues occasionally and problems but I didn't go round accusing the then Labour government of running a system that somehow ended up in the way that you are making this allegation."

IDS simply doesn't inhabit the same world as the people he wields power over. https://t.co/ShccchlMPm

— Patrick Harvie (@patrickharvie) October 28, 2015 ">http://


Paisley South SNP MP, Mhairi Black, asked Mr Duncan Smith if he recognised the link between sanctions and a rise in food bank use which the Trussell Trust said was up 398% between 2012 and 2014 in Scotland.

Ms Duncan Smith said: “I think the Trussell Trust figures, while genuinely put together I think it was Real Fact or True Fact which made the point during the election some of these facts are not absolutely true.”

The work and Pension Secretary then went on to reveal the project, which has started in Manchester but to be rolled out across the country if successful.

He said: "If this works and if the other food banks are willing to encompass this and we think it works we think we would like to roll this out across the whole of the UK."

Ms Black said: "It seems ironic that the UK Government will not fund foodbanks and ministers time and time again refuse to acknowledge the links between their policies and the increase in need for foodbanks yet they are now trying to use them as an outpost for Jobcentre Plus staff.”