Veterans’ relief ‘under review’ says secretary

Fareham Community Hospital in Salisbury Green

Picture: Paul Jacobs

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THE government is considering a request to give some veterans more money, according to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

Portsmouth City Council Ukip members are pushing for war disability pensions to be excluded as a source of income when their benefits are calculated, which would give veterans a financial boost.

Iain Duncan Smith''''Picture: Sarah Standing (141991-2738)

Iain Duncan Smith''''Picture: Sarah Standing (141991-2738)

Speaking on a visit to the shop All About Tea in Southsea yesterday, Mr Duncan Smith said the request was under review.

He said: ‘I know there is concern about that, but these are quite complicated issues to deal with.

‘If you start by exempting a whole series of things, then what you’re left with is all the complications of the existing benefits system that we are seeking not to have.’

Ukip members plan to continue pushing for the exclusion at a council meeting next week.

Mr Duncan Smith said there were about 32 different benefits, and more than 100 when ‘sub-benefits’ and ‘sub-sub-benefits’ were included.

He said the planned introduction of universal credit, a single payment for people out of work and on low incomes, would simplify the welfare system.

‘It’ll be a massive benefit to the people of Portsmouth,’ he said.

Mr Duncan Smith was in the city to talk to people taking part in the Troubled Families Programme, a scheme launched two-and-a-half years ago to help Britain’s families in greatest need.

He said: ‘So many of those families are now moving beyond the point where they started and improving the quality of their lives.

‘It saves money, eventually for the state, but the most important thing is it saves lives, and that’s why this programme is being expanded.

‘We’re going to go from 120,000 families to some 400,000 families, which is a big success story.’

Tory candidate for Portsmouth South Flick Drummond said she was delighted with Mr Duncan Smith’s visit.

She said: ‘I was really pleased to show the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions some of the good work that has been going on through the Troubled Families Initiative.

‘The family intervention projects are making a big impact on the lives of families and helping to get people back into work as well as sorting out some difficult family issues.’