Labour letter calls Tory cuts feasible

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Indy Politics
Andrew Smith, Labour's Treasury spokesman, has privately told colleagues that the scale of Conservative plans to cut social security running costs are "perfectly feasible", according to a letter leaked yesterday, writes John Rentoul.

Chris Smith, Labour's social security spokesman, said earlier this month that, under plans to cut the pounds 3.25bn annual costs by one-quarter over the next three years, the benefits system would be "pushed past breaking point". Four days later, on 12 February, Andrew Smith wrote to him, saying: "Savings in running costs of this magnitude are perfectly feasible, given the opportunities for efficiency gains and the scale of investment already undertaken."

Peter Lilley, Secretary of State for Social Security, said yesterday: "This is typical Labour hypocrisy. They criticise my reforms in public and praise them in private."

Chris Smith said the part leaked was "an inaccurate representation" of the whole letter.