THE Government’s woes deepened today as Iain Duncan Smith branded last week’s Budget “deeply unfair” as he defended his decision to resign from the Government.
The former Work and Pensions Secretary rejected suggestions that his departure is part of a Eurosceptic plot to unseat the Prime Minister as “nonsense” and insisted he had left Government because he was “losing ability to change events from the inside”.
Mr Duncan Smith described the cap on welfare spending imposed by the Chancellor and cut after last year’s General Elections as an “arbitrary position”.
Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show, the former Conservative Party leader admitted there had been a “longrunning problem” and he had felt “semi-detached” in relations with the Treasury and Downing Street and confirmed he had considered resigning last year.
He said cutting disability benefits while cutting taxes was in the Budget was “deeply unfair and was perceived to be unfair” and meant the Conservatives were in danger of losing “the narrative that the Conservative Party was this one nation party caring about those that don’t necessarily vote for it and may never vote for it.”
But he expressed support for David Cameron, insisting he would vote for the Prime Minister if there was an election tomorrow.
Mr Duncan Smith said: “I came into politics because I care about my country and I care about the people who live here. I do not have political ambition. I would not stand for leader, I would not support somebody who stands for leader at the moment, I am supportive of the Prime Minister.
“I care for one thing and one thing only it is that the people that don’t get the choices that my children get are left behind, I do not want them left behind, I want them given that opportunity and everything I have tried to do has been about that.”
Asked if Government policy on benefits was “immoral”, Mr Duncan Smith said he was concerned that “it is in danger of drifting in a direction that divides society rather than unites it”.
Mr Duncan Smith expressed frustration that reform of disability benefits had become embroiled in the Treasury’s need to find Budget savings to keep public spending on track to meet Mr Osborne’s target of eradicating the deficit by 2020.
He said discussion of benefit reform was focused on meeting the Government’s “arbitrary” welfare cap rather than in terms of getting “the best aid to those that most need it”.
The former Work and Pensions Secretary criticised Mr Osborne’s refusal to consider savings on benefits for older people while focusing on welfare payments to those of working age.
“My deep concern has been that this very limited narrow attack on what is working age benefits means that we simply don’t get that balance, we lose the balance of the generations.
“We have a triple lock on pensions which I was proud to do six years ago, but with inlfation running at zero we really need to look at things like this and ask do we just keep saying it’s working age that bear the brunt.”