Magazine article Public Finance

Duncan Smith's Welfare Reforms Could Be Ditched

Magazine article Public Finance

Duncan Smith's Welfare Reforms Could Be Ditched

Article excerpt

Proposed reforms to die welfare mid benefits system appeared to he in jeopardy this week after talks between die Treasury and Department for Work and Pensions stalled and analysts said the plans were unlikely to be implemented.

Although Work and Pensions Secretary lain Duncan Smith denied there was a rift between himself and Chancellor George Osborne. he admitted they had yet to reach agreement about his department's settlement for next month's Spending Review.

Giving evidence to the Commons work and pensions select committee on September 15, he said: 'Any figure in the Spending Review. I cannot confimi. We [Duncan Smith and die chancellor] have not reached any conclusions about this at all. Not at all.1

In a further signal of die tension between die two departments, Duncan Smith dismissed claims that £4bn could be cut from the welfare bill by being tougher on those unwilling to work.

The figure had been leaked by Treasury sources following less specific remarks on the subject from Osbome. 'The £4bn - T simply do not recognise that figure at all.' said Duncan Smith.

The work and pensions secretary has set out plans to provide more incentives for people to work. Although the proposals save money in the long term, they require upfront investment.

Ian Brinkley. associate director of die Work Foundation, predicted die plans would not get off the ground, claiming Duncan Smith was Only postponing the inevitable [defeat]'.

He told Public Finance: 'Battles between reformingwelfare ministers and die Treasury only have one result, and that's die Treasury winning. …

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