Duncan Smith says additional welfare cuts are ‘not acceptable’

The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has said that plans by his own government for an extra £10 billion of benefit cuts are ‘unacceptable’.

The cuts were originally identified as necessary in the Coalition government’s March Budget statement. Chancellor George Osborne said that an extra £10 billion cut by 2014 in ‘welfare spending’ (not defined further) would avoid extra cuts for other departments.

Duncan Smith said, in an interview with the Times newspaper, that welfare should not be ‘an easy target’ and the government had ‘a responsibility to support people in difficulty’.

Asked if he thought a further welfare cut of £10 billion was acceptable, Duncan Smith is reported as saying: ‘My view is it’s not.’

He added: ‘There is in my view no such thing as an easy target in welfare. Some people think there is: until I show them where we spend the money. My view is that you have a responsibility to support people in difficulty. It’s a prime concern of ours – we can’t run away from that.’

Times content is not freely available online. However, reports of the interview are available from the BBC and from The Telegraph (both 28 April 2012). Duncan Smith also found himself praised in a Guardian editorial (29 April 2012).

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