Conservative Party conference: Iain Duncan Smith vows more welfare budget cuts
Monday 08 October 2012
The welfare budget will be slashed in the next round of Government cuts, Iain Duncan Smith said today.
The Work and Pensions Secretary said the stalled economy and need to trim the deficit meant more savings were required.
He said: "We will have reduced welfare bills by £18 billion at the time of the next election and reformed welfare so it will be more effective.
"Early action to cut spending has helped reduce the deficit by a quarter but with the rest of Europe and the USA in trouble, it's small wonder the UK economy isn't growing as we had hoped.
"George Osborne and I recognise this means we will have to make further savings in the welfare budget, but as we save we are agreed we must relentlessly focus what we do on transforming lives.
"Gone must be the days when Governments spent money to buy their way out of a problem."
Mr Duncan Smith's admission, in his speech to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, paves the way for more cuts when Chancellor Mr Osborne delivers his Autumn Statement in December.
Mr Duncan Smith said the party had a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to reform welfare, and hailed the Universal Credit which will replace a complex raft of benefits payments.
He called it "the most extensive shake up of the welfare system for years" - and cautioned unemployed claimants against shirking work.
"If you won't work with us to find work, you will lose your benefit," said the former Tory leader.
He went onto accuse Labour and trades unions of sabotaging a work experience scheme designed to help young people gain valuable insight into employment.
"The unions, with Labour support, have attacked the programme," said Mr Duncan Smith.
"They are trying to frighten off businesses, even going as far as calling it 'slave labour'.
"Just how out of touch they are? Labour and the unions would rather have the young people of this country living off state hand-outs, instead of being employed."
And he warned Labour leader Ed Miliband: "If you follow the unions, you will never lead."
Mr Duncan Smith said the details of where the axe would fall - and where extra investment in the system might be made - were still to be thrashed out.
"I believe, overall, that by the time of the Autumn statement the Chancellor and I will have agreed what both of us think are necessary and achievable out of the welfare system," he told BBc Radio 4's PM.
Among items still to be agreed on were the proposal to strip under 25s of housing benefit, he signalled.
"If, and I say if because we have to discuss and decide whether this is the right thing to do, if we were to go down that road we would actually be doing it for those coming into that age bracket not those who are already there," he said.
"This is much more of a debt than a deficit reduction as it would grow and grow in years."
Mr Duncan Smith declined to offer a personal opinion on the decision to protect universal benefits from the chop - even those paid to the richest pensioners such as winter fuel payments.
Asked about reports he urged Prime Minister David Cameron to abandon an election pledge not to touch them, he said: "I of course do not have an independent opinion.
"I have a collective opinion which is exactly the same as the Prime Minister's which is that we have agreed something as a party. People who are receiving these benefits should know that when you make a statement you stand by it."
That could change in the next Tory manifesto, he indicated.
"But for the moment all those in receipt of these benfits can sleep easy."
:: The veteran former party leader also denied refusing to leave his position in the recent reshuffle to become Justice Secretary - insisting Mr Cameron offered him a choice.
"I call that a really good, decent man who wants to find the best for the British public, believes that I was doing a good job in welfare reform and wants to know whether or not on balance it was best for me to try to apply some of those reforming ideas that I've got to the criminal justice system or whether it's best to make sure I deliver this.
"On balance, I felt too many politicians move too often - it's time for us to say to the civil servants: I'm staying put and you're staying put and we are all going to deliver this thing together.
"It was a very, very happy discussion. And I say that without even a sign of a tongue in my cheek."
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
Royal Tour 2014: Is the Duchess of Cambridge the only person ever to climb into a fighter jet wearing a dress and high heels?
Kim Jong-un, crowds and contraband: Inside North Korea with the Pyongyang marathon winner
Cover up! Mother told to show less cleavage during Disneyland family trip: 'Are we supposed to wear turtlenecks our whole lives?'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Angus Steakhouse: How does tourist staple continue to thrive in today's gourmet market?
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...