Victory for Lib Dems as welfare saved from spending cuts

Business Secretary Vince Cable speaks to ITV News.

When I interviewed the Business Secretary Vince Cable a short while ago he said the Liberal Democrats were opposed to any further cuts in the welfare budget.

Welfare has become a contentious issue for many Conservative ministers and MPs.

They believe further cuts should be made to the £190 billion welfare bill (which includes pensions). The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, publicly told the Prime Minister to look for savings from welfare rather than from his Defence budget.

But the Lib Dems think their coalition colleagues have gone far enough.

Vince Cable says the only welfare cuts his party will consider are those pensioner benefits, like the free bus pass and winter fuel allowance.

Confirmation today from Conservative sources in the coalition that there will be no more welfare savings in the 2015/16 spending round is significant. It means all the savings - in the region of £11.5billion - will have to come from non-ringfenced departments.

Conservative sources in the Treasury admit they would like to cut welfare further. But this would appear to be a significant victory for the Lib Dems.