21 Mar 2016

Cameron insists he supports Osborne in budget row

Downing Street says George Osborne “absolutely” has the full support of David Cameron after the government was plunged into turmoil by Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation.

George Osborne (Reuters)

Mr Duncan Smith, the former Work and Pensions Secretary, resigned on Friday in a explosive letter addressed to Cameron which cited continuing cuts to in-work benefits at the expense of the rest of the welfare budget such as pensioner benefits which remained protected in the latest budget.

The last straw appears to have been a proposal to further cut disability benefits.

In the letter, Duncan-Smith said not enough had been done by government and Treasury especially “to ensure that we are all in this together”. David Cameron hit back saying he was “puzzled and disappointed” by the decision to resign.

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell has called on George Osborne to resign over the weekend and has tabled an Urgent Question for today.

David Gauke MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, is now set to answer to the changes in the budget since it was announced last week.

The proposed cut to Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) now look set to be dropped. This leaves the Treasury with a black hole of at least £1.3bn.

Number 10 has continued to affirm that Pension benefits will remained untouched.

Mr DuncanSmith’s resignation has thrown the Conservative Party into infighting. Pensions minister Ros Altmann believed his resignation was more to do with the EU referendum, while Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries MP took to Twitter to express her anger over the resignation.