LONDON (Reuters) - The British government will make no further cuts to the welfare budget following a senior minister’s resignation over changes to disability and welfare payments, his successor said on Monday.
Iain Duncan Smith quit his post of Work and Pensions Secretary on Friday with a fierce critique of the latest round of cuts to welfare budgets announced as part of Chancellor George Osborne’s budget statement last week and plunging the ruling Conservatives into a crisis.
The government has said it would no longer go ahead with the planned savings of 4.4 billion pounds ($6.33 billion) from disability benefits over the next five years, which many Conservative lawmakers had threatened to block.
Duncan Smith’s successor, Stephen Crabb, said on Monday these would not be replaced with cuts elsewhere to the welfare budget, which has already been one of the principal targets in Osborne’s efforts to reduce the budget deficit.
“We won’t be seeking alternative offsetting savings and as a government we are not seeking further savings from the welfare budget,” he told parliament, saying the decision had come after discussions with Osborne and Prime Minister David Cameron over the weekend.
“The events of recent days demonstrate that we need to take time to reflect on how best we support and transform people’s lives.”
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James; Editing by Richard Balmforth