Iain Duncan Smith in controversial mode

IDS: Give British jobless work before looking overseas

IDS: Give British jobless work before looking overseas

By politics.co.uk staff

Companies should offer unemployed British workers jobs before looking overseas, Iain Duncan Smith has suggested.

The controversial comment is one of the most significant attempts to raise the issue by a mainstream politician since Gordon Brown called for "British jobs for British workers".

"I was talking to a plumber and a carpenter, trained, qualified individuals," Duncan Smith told the House magazine.

"And I asked them about the Olympic sites. And they said, 'They're all or mostly people coming in from Eastern Europe who undercut us because they all hotbed in these areas and then they're gone.

"'I can't compete with them on this because I've got a house, I've got kids, I've got commitments, there's only so far I can go on salary, otherwise it's worse for me than being on benefits'.

"Now more jobs are going to British workers than went originally. So that is the beginning of a change, but I'm very keen to thrash that out so 'try one of our unemployed people first before you go anywhere else'."

Duncan Smith also used the interview to dismiss a recent claim that George Osborne does not believe the work and pensions secretary is "clever enough" for the job.

He has endured a tough relationship with the chancellor over the last four years, with reported clashes over the scale of benefit cuts and resistance to IDS' universal credit reforms.

He replied: "I'm content to see what history's judgement of me will be, not what my contemporaries think of me. Politics is a silly game."