IDS defends plans to reform welfare

IAIN Duncan Smith, the welfare secretary, yesterday insisted the government would press ahead with its radical welfare reforms, including plans to cap benefits at £26,000 and raise the pension age.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Duncan Smith said “the cap will stand – and I’m not unhappy about defending it”. He was speaking after the head of the Children’s Society claimed the cap would make 80,000 children homeless.

He also defended plans to raise the pension age to 67, after pensions minister Steve Webb said the coalition would speed up Labour’s timetable, which had planned to hike the pension age to 67 in 2036 and 68 in 2046. The state pension age is now expected to rise to 67 in 2026 – ten years earlier than planned.