British minister resigns over disability cuts plan

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LONDON: Britain’s welfare minister Iain Duncan Smith resigned on Friday over planned reductions in welfare payments for people with disabilities in a blow for Prime Minister David Cameron. Duncan Smith, one of six senior ministers who broke ranks to back Brexit in the upcoming EU membership referendum, blamed finance minister George Osborne in a scathing letter. “Changes to benefits to the disabled and the context in which they’ve been made are a compromise too far,” he wrote in a letter, following uproar against the plans announced by Osborne in parliament this week. “They are not defensible in the way they were placed within a budget that benefits higher-earning taxpayers,” said Duncan Smith, who had been in his post since 2010 and led the Conservative Party between 2001 and 2003. He said the government’s aim of cutting the deficit by 2020 was “more and more perceived as distinctly political rather than in the national economic interest.” Cameron said he was “puzzled and disappointed” by Duncan Smith’s decision to resign.

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AFP

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