Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is threatening to resign if George Osborne announces any more cuts to his precious welfare reforms — in particular the ‘Titanic’ disaster that is the government’s plans to introduce Universal Credit for benefits claimants.
Someone clearly needs to take the blame for his mess. IDS and his department have been accused of “leaking money like a sieve” despite government figures showing that fraud and error in the benefit system are at an all-time low.
In fact, IDS is much more likely to allow one of his civil servants to fall on his or her sword. He’s already replaced the head of the Universal Credit project five times in just three years:
- First of all we had Malcolm Whitehouse.
- Who was replaced in November 2012 by Hilary Reynolds.
- Who was then herself replaced by David Pitchford just 4 months into the job.
- Who was replaced by Howard Shiplee, again just months into the job.
- Who was himself replaced last September.
In other words, IDS does what any self-respecting Tory minister does when faced with accusations of incompetence.
He blames the servants.