The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has given his response to David Cameron's speech on the welfare system.
Speaking during a visit to Sheffield's Children's Hospital, Mr Clegg said: "David Cameron was speaking as a leader of the Conservative Party about his own personal ideas about the kind of things he would like to see happen after 2015.
"He is entirely free to do so, as is any leader of any political party."
The Prime Minister is considering a proposal to introduce regional welfare levels - so that people in areas where pay is lower also receive lower benefits.
David Cameron's official spokesman briefed reporters on the idea before it was removed from the final text of his speech on welfare earlier today.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said:
– Welsh Government spokesperson
“There appears to be a greatdeal of confusion surrounding the Prime Minister's proposal.
“However, should any attempt bemade to introduce regional rates of benefits, we will resist such a move. Waleswill be hit disproportionately compared to many other parts of the UK by thewelfare reforms already proposed by the UK Government. Any attempt to introduceregional benefits will just make matters worse.
“With prices in many areas ofWales being much higher than in other parts of the UK, the imposition of aregional benefit regime would simply compound the problem."
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber has given his reaction to the possible welfare changes the Prime Minister outlined in a speech earlier today.
The Prime Minister is attempting to undermine the whole basis of social security and national insurance by pretending that our welfare state only serves the very few who abuse the system - while instead it provides vital support to millions of families across the country.
To take one proposal, ending housing benefit for all young people would leave no provision for those trying to move to where there are jobs and get settled in a career that will allow them in turn to make a contribution.
– TUC general secretary Brendan Barber
This looks like a Government which simply does not understand how precarious life can be for millions who work hard and play fair. The real issue with our welfare state is that it isn't giving most people the real help they need, not that it's too generous.
Staff at the Asda distribution centre near Dartford were given the chance to talk to Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of his speech about welfare reform.
Some of the staff members spoke about their struggle to get on the property ladder. You can watch video of this here.
Staff at the Asda distribution centre near Dartford were given the chance to quiz the Prime Minister earlier. They spoke frankly to David Cameron about how difficult it is to get on the property ladder. Listen to the full report at ITV Meridian.
– Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors
The Prime Minister is absolutely correct to start this debate on the welfare system. Reducing the amount the state spends on benefits is imperative if we are to set our country’s finances backon the right track.The rising cost of an ageing population means that we need to get a grip on spending before it is too late.
However, the Prime Minister should be aiming for wholesale reform rather than changes in a few selected areas. There can be no sacred cows, and means-testing benefits like free TV licences and bus passes for the elderly should also be considered.
Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks reports on David Cameron's radical welfare reform proposals:
Andrea Meek, 23, who has a two-year-old son Thomas, wants to study for a degree in Tourism Management.
However, she says if she goes to university she will lose her income support and housing benefit and have to live off a student loan - which she says would not provide her with enough money to pay rent and support her son
Andrea says she is left in a "no win situation".
Prime Minister David Cameron said in a speech on welfare at Bluewater in Kent that there is a "culture of entitlement" in the UK. He says the Government inherited a "mess of perverse incentives, mind-numbing complexity and real unfairness".
We have, in some ways, created a welfare gap in this country –between those living long-term in the welfare system and those outside it. Those within it grow up with a series of expectations: you can have a home of your own, the state will support you whatever decisions you take, you will always be able to take out no matter what you put in.
– David Cameron
This has sent out some incredibly damaging signals. That it pays not to work. That you are owed something for nothing. It gave us millions of working-age people sitting at home on benefits even before the recession hit. It created a culture of entitlement. And it has led to huge resentment amongst those who pay into the system, because they feel that what they’re having to work hard for, others are getting without having to put in the effort.