Row over benefits cuts rumbles on

Press Association
Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith

Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

The political row over welfare cuts has continued as the Tories and Labour traded statistics a week ahead of a Commons vote on plans to impose a real-terms benefits cut.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith hailed figures showing that "many working-age benefits" had risen by 20% since 2007, easily outstripping a 12% rise in private sector pay. Increases had cost the taxpayer £6.3 billion since the start of the 2008 recession, he said in a defence of the squeeze announced by Chancellor George Osborne last month.