How Duncan Smith’s departure would help Osborne

Reposted from the New Statesman

The pair are divided over where future welfare cuts should be made and Universal Credit.
Iain Duncan Smith arrives in Downing Street on September 5, 2012. Photograph: Getty Images.

Is Iain Duncan Smith set to resign his post in next Monday’s reshuffle? Westminster has been abuzz with speculation all day after a commuter wrote on Facebook that she overheard a “20 something brunette, with a very posh voice” remark on a train to London that “someone called Ian [sic] is leaving the DWP (apparently he wants to go and has agreed to go).” Rumour links Duncan Smith with a move to Defence as part of what the BBC’s James Lansdale reports will be a “far wider reshuffle” than initially thought. 

It’s worth recalling that the Work and Pensions Secretary previously turned down the offer of Justice in the 2012 reshuffle in order to “see through” the reforms he had started (albeit with little success since). One person who pushed for his departure then was George Osborne. As Matthew d’Ancona’sIn It Together revealed, the Chancellor believes that Duncan Smith is “just not clever enough”. He has long been sceptical of his grand plan to transform the welfare system, Universal Credit (involving the merger of six benefits into one), fearing that the costs will outweigh any gains (hence why the Treasury still hasn’t signed off the business case for it). To date, the DWP has written off £40.1m of assets developed for the programme and expects to write down a further £91m by March 2018, prompting the National Audit Office to warn that it has has “not achieved value for money”. 

The pair previously clashed over Osborne’s announcement at the 2010 Conservative conference that child benefit would be removed from high-earners, which Duncan Smith was not briefed on in advance and which he regarded as a punitive raid on families.

Further disagreement has come over post-2015 welfare cuts. While Osborne is committed to achieving £12.5bn of savings through further reductions to working-age benefits (in addition to the £21.5bn already announced), Duncan Smith believes that “you can’t keep hacking at the same people” and that wealthy pensioners cannot remain exempt from austerity. He would like to see universal payments such as the Winter Fuel Allowance, free TV licences and free bus passes means-tested in order to achieve a more “balanced” approach. But dismissing the prospect of cuts, Osborne has stated that pensioner benefits are “not where you need to make the substantial savings required”. Another consideration is the electoral importance of the over-65s (the age group most likely to vote) and the risk that a raid on their benefits would allow Ukip to outflank the Tories by promising to safeguard all payments. 

Ahead of negotiations over the Conservative manifesto, then, the departure of Duncan Smith from the DWP, and his replacement with a more compliant figure, would help Osborne to secure the welfare policies he wants. 

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23 Responses to How Duncan Smith’s departure would help Osborne

  1. sdbast says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.


  2. Methusalada says:

    Hopefully that’s possibly a good news rumour, a world without IDS , I’ve come over all religious with hope . I am concerned that he is not appointed to another position such as UK Chair & Commissioner of the TTIP. This would then make the UK a continuous horror comic strip of Europe. Darth Vader 11 Returns ! again & again & again. or Son of Darth Vader or Darth Vader cocks it up again.


  3. Mike Sivier says:

    Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    It’s well-known that ‘Boy’ George Osborne and RTU Smith don’t get along. This article goes a long way towards explaining why even RTU’s departure won’t be fantastically good news for people stuck in the purgatory of a Tory benefit system.


  4. Kev Somers says:

    He was always going to be thrown under the bus to make the rest of the lying so Toe rags look human. V

    They lie for fun and don’t answer questions


  5. Pingback: How Duncan Smith's departure would help Osborne...

  6. Florence says:

    I think Mike hits the nail on the head. If IDS can be portrayed as the “good” guy by the New Statesman, what would someone more attuned to Osborne bring? All that seems to remain would be to just remove all social security completely. It seems that Osborne (who is actually calling someone else a dullard!!) is determined to enact the total horror of the full neocon corporatist ideology on us. Is he too stupid or even more psychopathic to be prepared to visit mass starvation and homelessness on millions in the UK? One may also ask, under what type of repressive government would they be considering, under which it would be possible? Or would that be an ulterior motive in moving IDS to the MOD, where he could be counted on to make the army turn their guns on the “useless eaters” to finish what he started?


    • Methusalada says:

      You frighten me Florence with such thoughts & predictions . I do hope your not correct on IDS’s next playing field with his water pistols supplied by the MOD.


      • It could be worse methusalada, it could be the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune 🙂


      • Florence says:

        Sorry, Methusalada, I didn’t mean to frighten anyone or be so bleak. However, when the initial analysis in 20101 – 11 predicted poverty, death, starvation, homelessness, and mounting mental health problems, it was dismissed as hyperbole. And yet it was true. Now Osborne let’s it be known that he wants more cuts, an even harsher treatment of the vulnerable. I was only trying to make the point that they have already done the unthinkable, and we should be prepared to once again, to think the unthinkable.


      • Methusalada says:

        Florence, I am beginning to perceive that you may have a clearer crystal ball than myself or those in the Labour Party. Be concerned Florence as they shall be coming for everyone’s balls soon. That’s not a rumour it’s the truth . Not a lot of people know that yet !


    • or maybe the good news would be,if they turned there guns on him,


  7. beastrabban says:

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    This article makes clear that if RTU goes, Osborne will still continue cutting the welfare budget, but in the manner he wants, rather than Smith. Smith wanted to start cutting the benefits of the wealthy and pensioners as well, but this is obviously not attractive to Osborne, who realises that pensioners are the part of the population most likely to vote. So, under Osbo, more cuts directed at the poorest. The face will change, but the monologue will remain the same dreary bile.


  8. So it sounds like the repulsive IDS and McVile will be moved from DWP. Both are brilliant Hate Figures for all of us and for good reason. However, Georgey Porgey is clearly a potential future Tory leader and PM and seems to have even more draconian ideas than the gruesome twosome.

    . Perhaps it is time to focus our hate and energies on Osborne?


  9. jaypot2012 says:

    Gideon has a blasted cheek saying someone is “just not clever enough” – I agree that IDS is as thick as sh*t, but Osborne is even thicker.
    Osborne couldn’t even do a simple mathematical question asked by a young boy!?! – he doesn’t know how much of a deficit the country is in, he knows less about money and maths than a 10 year old.
    I hope that IDS leaves the cabinet altogether – that would be my dream 🙂 As for McVey – she will do anything to get into the cabinet which is a worry in itself – so lets hope she gets a minor role, if one at all.
    As for Osborne saying about all these cuts in 2016 and onwards, he may be in the opposition as something minor due to him bringing this country back to the 19th Century. Make plans Gidiot, I’m making plans for a street party for IDS going and then a big one next year as the tories are booted out 😀


  10. jaypot2012 says:

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    Osborne hasn’t got the brains he was born with…


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