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Mrs. Monk's Would-be Diary should have been written by Mrs. Monk, since she is the "Writer" in the family.
However, since she is a writer only in the conceptual sense, I have undertaken to fill these pages on her behalf
If not by her, these pages will certainly be about her, and other important matters of the day         Leslie Monk




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TheMaximum Wage?

22 February 2011

Dear Iain

From Iain Duncan Smith 

Dear Leslie,

Mrs. Monk wrote and presented a piece for BBC R4 in 1997, called Death in Essex. This was about her attempt to find a job in the early 90’s  We like to think that what she broadcast about Job Centres helped bring down the government of John Major. She described the job opportunities promoted by that government:  driving jobs into war zones and night-watchman at 1 per hour, and who must have their own dog, and where the dog gets the interview.

John Major opposed the Minimum wage, and in recent days the same bigoted Daily Mail rhetoric has resurfaced.

You are a firm supporter of the strategy of Margaret Thatcher who also promised to put people back to work, and then subsequently tripled the unemployment rate. I cannot help but notice the similarity of your promises with hers and conclude that you have no prospect of meeting those promises.

It is now quite possible that you are  proposing to go further than Thatcher, by reducing the minimum wage, by calculated stealth. And at the same time you continue to fail to deal with the excesses at the maximum end of the pay scale. You are working vigorously on chipping away at the poorest, and failing to contemplate a maximum wage for the well-off.

You have used the Daily Mail example of, “cases of families getting over 100,000 in Housing Benefit,” to justify diminishing the living standards of the very poorest. If anyone is able to receive 100,000 in housing benefit it is because they have a big house and are therefore not the demographic that you are targeting for these cuts, to pay for the national deficit brought about by the banking crisis.

How do you sleep?

And Nick Clegg, what on earth are you doing with my vote? 


At the election, the Conservatives made a promise to you to get Britain working. Now we are delivering on that promise.

This Government is on the side of people who want to get ahead. The plans we have announced in the last few days will get people into work and will reform the welfare system to ensure that work always pays and no one can say they are better off on benefits.

At the election, we promised to work to reduce the very high marginal tax rates faced by many people on low incomes who want to return to work or increase their earnings. The Welfare Bill I introduced yesterday delivers on that promise. We will start to reduce these rates and simplify the system by introducing the Universal Credit, ensuring it will always pay to work.

This policy is particularly focused on helping those in work on low incomes, who are doing the right thing but lose far too much of their take home pay. One million of these low earning households will now receive up to 25 extra every week.

We said we would introduce a sanctions regime that removes benefits from those who refuse to work. We have delivered on that promise. If you're unemployed and refuse to take either a reasonable job or to do some work in your community in return for your unemployment benefit, you will lose your benefits for three months. Do it again, you'll lose it for six months. Refuse a third time and you'll lose your unemployment benefits for three years.

We will ensure fairness for taxpayers by introducing an annual cap ensuring no family can get more in benefits than the average family earns by going out to work. And we will ensure there will be no more cases of families getting over 100,000 in Housing Benefit by capping it at 400 per week.

After 13 years of Labour, the welfare system has left more than one in four adults of working age out of work, almost two million children living in workless households and generations trapped in poverty and dependency. This is a tragedy, but our proposals mark the beginning of a new era of 21st Century Welfare. Universal Credit alone will lift almost a million people out of poverty: 350,000 children and 600,000 adults - something I am deeply proud of.

We are offering a vision of a stronger society, a bigger society, a more responsible society and yesterday, the building of that society started in earnest.

If you support these plans you can forward this email onto your family and friends.


Iain Duncan Smith

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 

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