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Coffee House

Conservative conference: Iain Duncan Smith admits ‘We will have to take more money out of welfare’

7 October 2012

7:56 PM

7 October 2012

7:56 PM

The Tory party loves its former leaders and the queue for Conservative Home’s fringe event with Iain Duncan Smith went round the block. IDS began by explaining why he had chosen to stay in the Welfare job rather than move to Justice in the reshuffle. Though he stressed that there had been no Prime Ministerial demand that he did move but merely what he described as, a ‘genuinely good discussion’ about it.

IDS, who is known not to be a big fan of giving free TV licenses and the like to wealthy pensioners, said that any changes to pensioner benefits were ‘off the table’ because of David Cameron’s election pledge. He admitted that this meant that the ‘burden is greater on working age recipients.’

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In keeping with the Tory theme of the day, IDS offered his critique of Labour. He claimed that they would have to make the very spending cuts they are voting against. He was also dismissive of Ed Miliband’s one nation rhetoric, saying ‘can one speech change a party?’ But he did confess that he liked Miliband personally and had made a bit of money on betting on him winning the leadership.

Interestingly, Duncan Smith sounded more amenable to finding further savings in the welfare budgets than he has before. He emphasised that given that the country’s fiscal position is still troubled ‘we will have to take more money out of the welfare system’.

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