Iain Duncan Smith 'resigned to protest pensioners being protected from cuts'

Philippa Stroud, who co-founded a think-tank with Mr Duncan Smith, said he was frustrated that certain groups appeared to be shouldering the burden of austerity considerably more than others.

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Iain Duncan Smith resigned as Work and Pensions Secretary because he felt that children’s benefits were being unfairly cut while pensioners’ benefits were left untouched, it has been reported.

Mr Duncan Smith resigned last night, stating that austerity cuts had gone “too far” and arguing that to cut disability benefits at the same time as announcing tax cuts for high earners was “not defensible”.

Philippa Stroud, who co-founded the think tank Centre for Social Justice with Mr Duncan Smith in 2004, said that he was increasingly frustrated that cuts were unbalanced between pensioners and the rest of the population.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “It was not appropriate to be giving away tax incentives to the middle classes, freezing fuel duty and protecting universal benefits and pensioner benefits at the time that you were making cuts to disability benefits. 

Ms Stroud said that this approach ran contrary to Mr Duncan Smith’s aims to: “deliver a social agenda [and] protect the poorest.”

Throughout austerity measures, the Government has safe guarded a number of benefits for pensioners. Some critics have suggested that this an attempt on behalf of the Conservatives to appease their core electoral support from older people.

The Guardian reports that Mr Duncan Smith objected to proposals that benefit cuts to disabled children were to be introduced, which would save £0.5 billion.

Mr Duncan Smith has been replaced by Stephen Crabb, former Welsh Secretary in the role.