Downing Street backs simplified benefits system

Iain Duncan Smith persuades David Cameron that universal credit scheme will save billions despite initial start-up costs

Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, has won the political support of Downing Street to press ahead with welfare reform built around a new universal credit that will eventually save the taxpayer billions despite its initial start-up costs.

The Treasury has been sceptical about the plans, concerned that the initial costs might not be matched by savings within the four-year timeframe of the coming spending review.

But it is understood that Cameron has given Duncan Smith and his welfare team the go-ahead to fund the reforms, ahead of a white paper later in the autumn.

Duncan Smith has promised that the radical reforms will produce savings during the spending round timeframe, but is being pressed to sanction other savings from his department……….

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