UK Politics

Iain Duncan Smith opposes suggested £10bn welfare cuts

Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith says the government should support people who find themselves 'in difficulty'

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith says he would not accept a suggested extra £10bn of benefit cuts.

He told the Times that welfare should not be "an easy target" and the government had "a responsibility to support people in difficulty".

The government identified an £18bn reduction in welfare spending by 2014 in last month's Budget.

Chancellor George Osborne says an extra £10bn cut in welfare spending would avoid extra cuts for other departments.

Mr Osborne also said that, if not curbed, welfare spending would consume one third of public spending within three years.

The chancellor said in his Budget speech: "If nothing is done to curb welfare bills further, then the full weight of the spending restraint will fall on departmental budgets. The next spending review will have to confront this."

But when asked if he thought a further welfare cut of £10bn was acceptable, Mr Duncan Smith said: "My view is it's not."

In an interview with the Times, the former Tory leader suggested further savings could be made but stressed the need for a "balance of what we're trying to achieve".

"There is in my view no such thing as an easy target in welfare," he said. "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."

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