IAIN Duncan Smith believes Enfield Council could have avoided “headline” cuts to services had it been more efficient.

The Work and Pensions Secretary visited Enfield on Thursday to campaign for London mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith and the Conservatives’ GLA candidate for Enfield and Haringey, Linda Kelly.

A decrease in government funding means the council are set to make £1.7m of cuts in their youth services and make staff redundant across the authority.

However, Mr Duncan Smith said the council could have avoided a negative reaction to the cuts if they had given them more forethought.

The Woodford Green and Chingford MP and former Conservative leader said: “People have a right to expect that their council governs for the people.

“If you look at the successful local authorities, they are the people who have worked out what the vitally important things are that they do, and have managed to get through this process without savaging the things that really matter.

“My only advice to local council is that if you get the balance right, you should be able to manage this in a way that is not headline news – doing it with better efficiency. It is like any company, you always face the issue of whether what you spend outweighs what you earn. Headline cuts are not the way to go.

“My local authority, I would be surprised if they have to announce any major cuts at all, because they have managed the budget.”

He also promised that the government is doing more to tackle the issue of low paying jobs in the borough.

Figures released late last year revealed almost 40 per cent of workers in Enfield earn below the living wage – the second worst level in London.

Mr Duncan Smith said: “The government has been doing a huge amount – we have been prosecuting companies who are failing to pay the minimum wage. The figures are improving I think.

“The key issue here is to make people realise that taking cash in hand work is what undermines the living wage, and we need anyone who knows that this is going on to report it.

“We are moving the living wage in London up to £9 an hour, that will put us pretty much at the top of all the European countries – that has got to be good.”

Council leader Doug Taylor criticised Mr Duncan Smith's comments, saying the authority had already made all the savings it could make from efficiencies.

He said: "You get to a point when efficiency savings are not there in the kind of magnitude that we're talking about.

"I think it's a bit rich for a senior Government minister who is part of a government who has massively cut council budgets to pontificate about what we're doing.

"He needs to learn to join the dots. When you're in a government who cuts local government funding, local governments have to make cuts to services.

Cllr Taylor added Enfield had more a bigger population of younger and older people with the figures going up quicker than across other parts of Britain.

"Iain Duncan Smith probably doesn't know any of that," he said.

"Maybe he shouldn't speak before he knows the facts."