Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith resigns

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

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IAIN Duncan Smith has said he is resigning as Work and Pensions Secretary, complaining of Treasury pressure to make cuts to benefits.

Mr Duncan-Smith said the disability cuts are not defensible in a Budget which rewards higher earners.

Tory backbenchers had urged Chancellor George Osborne to rethink the plans, warning that the government would be defeated in the Commons if it tried to push the changes through.

Announcing his resignation in a letter, Mr Duncan Smith referred to the cuts to personal independence payments (PIP) as “a compromise too far”.

He added: “While they are defensible in narrow terms, given the continuing deficit, they are not defensible in the way they were placed within a Budget that benefits higher earning taxpayers.

“They should have instead been part of a wider process to engage others in finding the best way to better focus resources on those most in need.”

[The cuts] are not defensible in the way they were placed within a Budget that benefits higher earning taxpayers

Iain Duncan Smith

Around 40,000 disabled people in Scotland will be worse off if Mr Osborne goes ahead with his controversial plan, the Scottish Government claimed last night.

Scotland’s social justice secretary Alex Neil wrote to the Chancellor to say he is “deeply disturbed” by the plan.

The Scottish Government has calculated that £130 million will be taken from disability benefits in Scotland each year as a result of the Budget Mr Osborne delivered on Wednesday.

Across the UK up to 640,000 people could have support for aids and appliances used for daily tasks either scaled back or removed as a result of the £1.3 billion savings sought by the UK government.

The Scottish Government will be given power over PIP, one of the disability benefits to be devolved under the Scotland Bill. However, it is expected to be a number of years before the transfer of power is phased in. Mr Neil said: “I am both disappointed and concerned that the UK government has chosen to cut benefits for disabled people.”

Scottish Labour’s Jackie Baillie said: “It is clear there is already huge opposition to George Osborne’s callous cuts to disabled people even within his own party, never mind across the UK.”

Layla Theiner, campaigns and policy, Disability Agenda Scotland (DAS), said: “Disabled people in Scotland face extra financial costs such as heating, , transport, care and therapy. These changes will make it more difficult fto claim much-needed support.”

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