Danny Alexander: Tories plan £8bn cuts to child benefits

Tories dismiss claim as “desperate stuff”

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has claimed the Conservatives proposed slashing child benefits to the tune of £8bn while in office and that the Liberal Democrats had blocked the move.

Alexander leaked what he described as “secret” plans to the Guardian, adding that ahead of the election, the Tories had still refused to lay out their full spending plans and were trying to “con” the electorate.

Chancellor George Osborne has already admitted that £12bn of cuts would be made in the next parliament, but according to the FT, has only identified £3bn worth, which would come from freezing working-age benefits for two years.

Alexander claims the Tories could act on their previous plans if returned to office, “slashing” child benefits to come up with £8bn.

In the information leaked to the Guardian, Alexander said that the “quad”, the four most senior members of the Cabinet, were sent a document by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith titled “Welfare reform quad summer reading pack”, which outlined the £8bn worth of savings to be found in cuts to child benefits.

A Conservative party spokesman said they were “definitely not” Conservative Party policies.

“This set of policies was never proposed or supported by the prime minister and chancellor and would never be proposed or supported by the prime minister and chancellor,” he said.

He added: “This is desperate stuff from Liberal Democrats who are now willing to say anything to try and get attention.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Osborne thinks that cutting spending will reduce the deficit.

    He's already tried that. After billions in cuts, the deficit has not fallen as much as he said it would and the economy has not grown as much as he said it would either.

    Meanwhile, our public services lie in tatters.

    Osborne is economically illiterate. He understands nothing about economics, and his simplistic slash & burn rhetoric is causing untold damage to this country.

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