Saturday, March 19, 2016

IDS resignation- the Prime Minister's reply.

Last night the government announced that it would delay reforms to the Personal Independence Payment for disabled people in order to take more time to get them right.

A couple of hours later the Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary for Work and Pensions resigned.

IDS's resignation letter said that he was "incredibly proud of the welfare reforms that the government has delivered over the last five years."

He added "I truly believe that we have made changes that will improve the life chances of the  most disadvantaged people in this country and increase their opportunities to thrive ...

"Together we've made enormous strides towards building a system of social security which gets the balance right between state-help and self-help."

He then referred to the difficult choices - and cuts - that had been necessary throughout this process because of the "perilous finances inherited from the last Labour government." He added that the changes in benefits proposed in this year's budget were "a compromise too far" and that he therefore felt he must resign.

You can read the full resignation letter on the Guardian website here.

Doubtless the conspiracy theorists of various kinds will have a field day with this and some of those who have been speaking and writing of IDS as though he was the earthly representative of  Beelzebub will suddenly discover that he is a saint and martyr who has been fighting the good fight against the villainous Osborne.

In the meantime I can only echo the words of the Prime Minister in his reply to IDS's resignation, which you can also read on the government website here.

"Thank you for your letter this evening.

We are all very proud of the welfare reforms which this Government has delivered over the last six years, and in which you have played an important part.

As a Government, we have done a huge amount to get people into work, reduce unemployment and promote social justice. There are now more people in work than ever before in our country’s history, with 2.4 million more jobs created since 2010.

I regret that you have chosen to step down from the Government at this moment. Together we designed the Personal Independence Payment to support the most vulnerable and to give disabled people more independence.

We all agreed that the increased resources being spent on disabled people should be properly managed and focused on those who need it most.

That is why we collectively agreed – you, No 10 and the Treasury – proposals which you and your Department then announced a week ago. Today we agreed not to proceed with the policies in their current form and instead to work together to get these policies right over the coming months.

In the light of this, I am puzzled and disappointed that you have chosen to resign.

You leave the Government with my thanks and best wishes.

While we are on different sides in the vital debate about the future of Britain’s relations with Europe, the Government will, of course, continue with its policy of welfare reform, matched by our commitment to social justice, to improving the life chances of the most disadvantaged people in our country, and to ensuring that those who most need help and protection continue to receive it."

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