I'm disabled, I work six days a week running my own craft business, and I employ 11 people. I also have a successful media career. I'm only able to do all of this because I get support under the government's Access to Work scheme - but I'm totally stressed out at the moment because it's under review and I've been told that it might be taken away.
Vilification of benefit claimants and disabled people is endemic, perhaps the government should just stitch on the black triangles and be done with it or bring in the Welfare Games to keep us at a more manageable number and remind us how grateful we are for all the 'pitty money' (in Simon Stevens words) that we get.
Long term unemployed people will have their benefits cut unless they visit a Job Centre everyday, undertake voluntary work or undertake training. If those out of work fail to partake in one of these tasks they will initially lose four weeks Job Seekers Allowance in the first instance then 13 weeks for a second failure.
It's in the interest of the taxpayer to make it difficult for those who need to to jump through the benefits hoops. However, this goes further than that. This is a system in need of immediate, wholesale reform. IDS has worked to make the whole jobseeking process online, which is great, but putting an old-fashioned bureaucracy onto the internet isn't the same as modernising it.
I dropped out of school at 15 with no qualifications, in much the same situation as the residents of James Turner Street on Channel 4's Benefits Street. But thanks to a plumbing apprenticeship, hard work and an old box of tools I bought at an auction, I now own London's biggest independent plumbing firm, which I built myself from the ground up.
Iain Duncan Smith appeared in front of the work and pensions committee of MPs yesterday, but decided against illuminating them - and us - about his work. His Universal Credit scheme, widely recognised to be failing due in great part to his poor management and lack of financial acumen, was the main item on the agenda.
Unemployment has shown a big fall in the last three months and now stands at 7.1% of the working population. But coverage of the issue has focused on the likely result of this fall on interest rates. Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, has said he will not raise interest rates, which have been stuck at 0.5% since 2009, until unemployment drops to 7%.