Iain Duncan Smith attacks ‘unfair’ budget measures

Former work and pensions secretary says deficit is being eradicated in the wrong way

 

Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned from cabinet on Friday, has delivered a devastating attack on the Government’s austerity programme, accusing prime minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne of balancing the books on the backs of struggling working people and the vulnerable.

In his first interview since his dramatic resignation, the former work and pensions secretary branded the chancellor’s cap on welfare spending as “arbitrary” and warned the deficit was being eradicated in the wrong way.

He suggested ministers were targeting benefits handed to working age people rather than pensioners because “they don’t vote for us”.

Lead shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith said: “The Conservative Party is tearing itself apart over an unfair budget. David Cameron and George Osborne’s claim that ‘we’re all in this together’ now lies in tatters.

“No-one will believe Iain Duncan Smith’s sudden change of heart. After all this is the man who introduced the Bedroom Tax.

“But what his comments do reveal is growing anger within the Conservative Party about George Osborne’s management of the economy.”

“George Osborne now needs to urgently clarify whether these cuts to disability benefits will go ahead and, if not, how he will make up for the huge hole in his Budget.”

Jeremy Corbyn is right. Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation is a symptom of a wider problem made at the Treasury. George Osborne should take responsibility and resign. He has failed his party, failed the economy and failed our country.”

On Saturday Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called on Mr Osborne to “consider his position” after Mr Duncan Smith resigned over cuts to disabled benefits.

He accused the government of slashing the payments provision out of “political choice not economic necessity” and insisted the chancellor should step down.

“He (Osborne) presented a budget that included taking a billion pounds, more than a billion in fact, away from those with disabilities through the Personal Independence Payments and then he says it was all a consultation,” he said.

“Somewhere along the line that budget can’t add up and so I think IDS (Ian Duncan Smith) has resigned because his policy has been completely shown to be what it is. “I think George Osborne should consider his position as well, it was after all him that included it in the Budget in the first place.”