David Cameron says he is “puzzled and disappointed” after Iain Duncan Smith quit as work and pensions secretary.
Mr Duncan Smith said the £4bn of planned cuts to disability benefits were “not defensible” in a Budget that benefitted higher earning taxpayers.
In response, Mr Cameron said they had “collectively agreed” on the proposals, which he said ministers would now not proceed with “in their current form”.
The prime minister has not yet named a replacement for Mr Duncan Smith.
In his Budget on Wednesday, Chancellor George Osborne had said the government would be spending an extra £1bn on disability but changes to disability benefits announced a few days earlier had suggested the government would save £4.4bn by 2020-21.
They included changes to Personal Independence Payments (PIP), which will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in January 2017, that were expected to save £1.3bn and sparked outcry from opposition parties and some Tory MPs. A government source said on Friday they would be “kicked into the long grass”.
BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said: “Tensions with the chancellor had been simmering for some time, but there was little warning of Friday’s explosion.
“What seemed to be at its core were briefings by government sources which placed responsibility for the controversial changes to PIP firmly at Mr Duncan Smith’s door, while he had in fact felt some pressure from the Treasury to deliver them.”
In his reply to Mr Duncan Smith, Mr Cameron said they had all agreed that “the increased resources being spent on disabled people should be properly managed and focused on those who need it most”.
“That is why we collectively agreed – you, No 10 and the Treasury – proposals which you and your department then announced a week ago,” he said.
“Today we agreed not to proceed with the policies in their current form and instead …read more
Source:: BBC UK