A cheer for Iain Duncan Smith – but he will make enemies

“The purpose of my life here is to improve the quality of life of the worst off in society.” Such ambitious rhetoric is not unusual for new incumbents at the Department for Work and Pensions. The difference with Iain Duncan Smith is that he means it, having advocated an overhaul of Britain’s rotten welfare system for years while being far away from the lure of power. If IDS is to deliver on his goals of tackling poverty, chronic welfare dependency and low intergenerational mobility, he will not just need zeal but also a good deal of stoicism, because he will make enemies.

Dr Kristian Niemietz is the IEA's Head of Political Economy. Kristian studied Economics at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and the Universidad de Salamanca, graduating in 2007 as Diplom-Volkswirt (≈MSc in Economics). During his studies, he interned at the Central Bank of Bolivia (2004), the National Statistics Office of Paraguay (2005), and at the IEA (2006). He also studied Political Economy at King's College London, graduating in 2013 with a PhD. Kristian previously worked as a Research Fellow at the Berlin-based Institute for Free Enterprise (IUF), and taught Economics at King's College London. He is the author of the books "Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies" (2019), "Universal Healthcare Without The NHS" (2016), "Redefining The Poverty Debate" (2012) and "A New Understanding of Poverty" (2011).