The day after a quarter of a million people marched in London against austerity, the government has confirmed it will cut £12 billion in welfare.
Despite opponents' hopes the cuts would be watered down, Chancellor George Osborne and Work And Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith confirmed the budget and the autumn spending review would include measures to bring the welfare budget down.
They said welfare spending had been allowed to "spiral so far out of control" and they said their announcement was the beginning of a decade-long project to "return the system to sanity".
Writing in The Sunday Times (£), Osborne and Duncan Smith said: “This government was elected with a mandate to implement further savings from the £220 billion welfare budget. For a start, we will reduce the benefit cap, and have made clear that we believe we need to make significant savings from other working-age benefits.
“We will set out in detail all the steps we will take to bring about savings totalling £12 billion a year in next month’s budget and at the spending review in the autumn.
“It took many years for welfare spending to spiral so far out of control, and it’s a project of a decade or more to return the system to sanity.
“Reforming the damaging culture of welfare dependency and ensuring that work pays has been central to our mission to make Britain fit for the future.”
They also attacked Labour for creating a system that “incentivised people to live a life on benefits — something that was bad for them, bad for their families, and bad for the hardworking taxpayers who were footing the bill.”
Speaking last month, Shadow Work And Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves said: "Families with children will lose out from the Tory plan to cut £12 billion from welfare, with tax credits and child benefit in the firing line.
“For months David Cameron and George Osborne have ducked questions about which families, children and disabled people will be hit by their £12 billion welfare cut. It’s time for the government to come clean about the impact of their cuts plan on millions of families, children and disabled people.”
Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham told Sky News the scale of the cuts was "disgraceful".
He said: "He didn't spell out (where the cuts would come from) and he's still not spelling it out now... He's frightening vulnerable people and that is wrong."