Duncan Smith: This is not a punishment

Iain Duncan Smith, welfare reform minister, defends plans to cap benefits in a series of media interviews:

"We do not believe there will be an increase in child poverty … Our department does not believe that you can directly apportion poverty to this particular measure.

"Nobody, and I can guarantee this, nobody will be made homeless in the sense of the public's view of it – without a home to go to – as a result of this.

"I simply make the point that the purpose of this is not to punish people but it is to give fairness to people who are paying tax, who are commuting large distances because they can only afford to live in the houses that they have chosen.

"It is also about fairness to those who are on these benefits; it is not fair to trap somebody in an expensive house which they cannot afford then to go to work on the back of, because they would lose their housing benefit if they went to work – so they are disincentivised from going to work. This is a ridiculous system that we have inherited."