IDS “simply doesn’t recognise” Osborne’s welfare savings number

Iain Duncan Smith has told a group of MPs that he “simply doesn’t recognise” the £4 billion figure that George Osborne claims will be cut from the welfare budget. The latest remarks will heighten tensions between two of David Cameron’s leading figures.

Last Thursday, George Osborne told Nick Robinson of the BBC that the Government was planning to reduce the annual welfare budget by a further £4 billion above and beyond the £11bn announced in the June Budget. At the Work and Pensions Select Committee this afternoon, IDS answered a question from Anne Begg MP:

BEGG: “Perhaps, in terms of what we read in the newspapers you might be able to clarify the figures, because we’re finding that quite confusing. The figure of £11bn savings from your department has been bandied about, as being part of what was in the Budget, and then over the weekend there’s been £4bn and then £2.5bn, are these additional, what exactly is the figure with regards to your own department?”

DUNCAN SMITH: “£4 billion? I simply don’t recognise that figure at all … I only picked up the story in the Sunday papers at the last moment.”

Watch it:

On Monday, Liberal Democrat MP, Bob Russell, told George Osborne:

“I find it somewhat immature this turf war between your office and the secretary of state for work and pensions”.

Last night, IDS denied the rift with Osborne and told Jeff Randal that he and the Chancellor were “very close”. His remarks today undermine that apparent rapprochement.

Tension between the two senior Cabinet members have been bubbling under the surface all summer. In late August, the Mail on Sunday reported a “blazing row” between the pair while earlier that month the Daily Mail reported a “bureaucratic struggle” between Treasury and DWP.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Yvette Cooper today said:

“This shows the chaos at the heart of Government. By conducting these rows in public they are scaring a lot of vulnerable people who now have no idea how much more they will lose.”

Adding to the confusion, Downing Street denies that Mr Osborne had ever said £4 billion and claims instead that he said “several billion”.

Like this article? Left Foot Forward relies on support from readers to sustain our progressive journalism. Can you become a supporter for £5 a month?

21 Responses to “IDS “simply doesn’t recognise” Osborne’s welfare savings number”

  1. Will Straw

    Watch IDS' adviser, Charlotte Pickles, grimmace as IDS says "I simply dont recognise" Osborne's £4bn welfare cut

  2. Claire French

    RT @leftfootfwd: New post: IDS "simply doesn't recognise" Osborne's welfare savings number

  3. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd New post: IDS "simply doesn't recognise" Osborne's welfare savings number

  4. Humpty Bumpty

    £4bn welfare cuts? Suggest Charlotte Pickles sits elsewhere next time IDS decides to be economical with the truth.

  5. Rosa Rubicondior

    RT @TomBlenkinsop: IDS gaffe,or the truth. wierd really,Liberals back Osbourne more on further cuts.

  6. Liam McKee

    RT @TomBlenkinsop: IDS gaffe,or the truth. wierd really,Liberals back Osbourne more on further cuts.

  7. Mr. Sensible

    What a mess.

    Who’s in charge here?

  8. the credo

    Left-foot-forward provides "evidence-based analysis on British politics" Cool! And you get to make the evidence up!

  9. the credo

    Will Straw: Fantasy Politics #ukpolitics Left-foot-forward quite literally making it up as they go along.

  10. the credo

    Will Straw: Bringing new meaning to the fallacious "straw man" argument – one lie at a time: #ukpolitics

  11. the credo

    Fantasy Politics: @wdjstraw goes fishing, and catches an *epic* Red Herring: #ukpolitics Really ought to know better.

  12. the credo

    @wdjstraw In what fantasy land can you call this post evidence-based, Will? Seriously. Enlighten me, oh great one.

  13. Kevin Richards

    Tories in disarray RTleftfootfwd: IDS "simply doesn't recognise" Osborne's welfare savings number

  14. Cllr Krupesh Hirani

    IDS "simply doesn't recognise" Osborne's welfare savings number

  15. Lynn Matthews

    Oh! What a relief that the Wizard of Oz said “several billion” and not just “4 billion”. I mean now everyone can relax until such a time as we catch up with our buddies the Canadians…. who (pause mid-rant) after their much heralded reforms, can afford to buy 16 Billion Dollars worth of warplanes but, don’t have money to pay disabled People …… and have more people asking for money in the streets than any Country of the western world! Not a day goes past without my feeling thrilled at the legacy of my generation.

  16. Robert

    I think IDS better have a word with Cleggie then he knows about the cuts, Lord Clegg when he gets the boot at the next election will I’m sure end up a special advised to Cameron.

  17. Syed Farrukh Bokhari

    DS "simply doesn't recognise" Osborne's welfare savings number

  18. Little miss Gobby

    RT @leftfootfwd: IDS "simply doesn't recognise" Osborne's welfare savings number

  19. Fair is foul, and foul is fair « Disagreeable Weasel

    […] Pickles, erstwhile Centre for Social Justice Policy Director. She’s the one on the right in the video clip, biting her lip at IDS fluffing his […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.