The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Government vows to press ahead with £12bn cuts in benefits

Osborne and Duncan Smith say they will restore ‘sanity’ to system

- JaMes Tapsfield

George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith have insisted they will push ahead with plans to slash another £12 billion a year from the benefits bill.

The Chancellor and Work and Pensions Secretary reiterated their determinat­ion to achieve the savings in full after a major anti-austerity protest on the streets of London.

The two men are believed to have thrashed out details of the cuts pledged in the Tory manifesto over the last few days – putting paid to rumours that they could be scaled back or delayed.

Mr Osborne and Mr Duncan Smith insisted they had inherited a “crackers” welfare system from Labour in 2010.

Repeating the claim that Britain makes up 7% of all the welfare spending globally despite having just 4% of GDP, they said the arrangemen­ts had “incentivis­ed people to live a life on benefits”.

The coalition shaved £21 billion off the welfare budget, but Mr Osborne and Mr Duncan Smith warned that it will still make up 12.7% of spending in 2019-20.

“It took many years for welfare spending to spiral so far out of control, and it’s a project of a decade or more to return the system to sanity,” they wrote in the Sunday Times.

SNP Social Justice and Welfare spokespers­on Eilidh Whiteford MP said: “Their heartless cuts are hitting the working poor and vulnerable in our society hardest, including disabled people. Scotland can’t afford these cuts.”

Labour leadership frontrunne­r Andy Burnham said he would oppose cuts to tax credits for people on low incomes, and benefits reductions for the disabled.

Their heartless cuts are hitting the working poor and vulnerable in our society hardest ... SNP MP EILIDH WHITEFORD

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