الأربعاء , يونيو 17 2020

Benefit cuts 'not yet decided'

No decisions have been made on where to make further benefit cuts, should the Conservatives win the general election – Iain Duncan Smith has told the BBC.

The Tories aim to cut £12bn from the welfare budget by 2017-18.

Documents leaked to the BBC suggested taxing disability benefits was among the options – but the work and pensions secretary said none were party policy.

He said it was “not the case” that cuts were being kept secret – but Labour urged him to “come clean”.

Last week’s leaked documents from Mr Duncan Smith’s department outlined some options for cutting benefits further, prepared by civil servants at the request of Conservative Party officials.

They included restricting Carer’s Allowance, taxing disability benefits, limiting child benefit to the first two children and regional variations in benefit caps.

‘Cheese-paring cuts’

Mr Duncan Smith told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show “none of the stuff” that had been reported had been discussed with the chancellor, and it was standard for government departments to put figures together – but that did not mean they were policy.

He said a benefit freeze and pledge to reduce the annual benefits cap from £26,000 to £23,000 would account for about a quarter of savings and were “a good indication that we know where we’re going to go to make those savings”.

He said he had raised Carers’ Allowance and had protected the most disabled throughout all previous benefit changes.

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