The Tories are refusing to set out how they are going to cut £12 billion from the welfare budget. But documents leaked to the BBC show they are looking to hit carers, children and the disabled in the next round of cuts.
Labour urged the Tories to ‘come clean’ about where the axe will fall. They said their refusal to set out what their ‘secret’ intentions were before the election was ‘unacceptable’.
Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith told the BBC the Tories may or may not set out details of £12 billion cuts before the election. He claimed he had not even discussed with chancellor George Osborne where the axe will fall.
He threw the Tories into further disarray by saying David Cameron will not serve a full five years as prime minister, despite his promise to do so. Any claims of a ‘long term plan’ on welfare and the future of David Cameron were dented in one BBC interview.
Chancellor George Osborne was wheeled out to ‘clarify’ the Tory refusal to set out where the cuts will fall until after the election.
Having failed to do so, David Cameron was wheeled out to set the record straight – no details of the £12 billion cuts until after the election.
The documents leaked to the BBC have thrown a spanner in the works. These outlined cuts to Carer’s Allowance, scrapping industrial injury benefit, taxing disability benefits, more cuts to child benefit and further benefit caps.
Duncan Smith, Osborne and Cameron claim none of these are official policy but fail to set out where the axe will fall. In this Parliament there have been £20 billion of cuts — an unprecedented level.
There has already been the ‘bedroom tax’, the level of benefits frozen or rises kept below inflation, and greater conditions and sanctions placed on a range of benefits. A number of grants to new mums and additional tax credits to help with the high cost of very young children have been axed.
Labour insists the Tories have a figure for the cuts – £12 billion – and are keeping the details under wraps until after polling day. They have pressed for the Tories to ‘come clean’ over their plans.
Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary said: “The public have a right to know who will be hit by the Tories’ plan and they must now come clean on their £12 billion cuts.”
She said the “refusal to admit how children, disabled people, carers and working families will be hit by secret Tory plans six weeks before the election is completely unacceptable.”