- 8 updates
Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman has said today that it was understandable that workers felt "resentful" about benefit claimants that do not want a job, after the Prime Minister defended the Coalition's benefits shake-up.
Mr Harman said it was "not surprising" that people were concerned about the system but claimed the Government's failure to install a proper work programme was letting some people "off the hook".
Ms Harman told BBC 1's Andrew Marr Show: "The difficulty is for people who are in work, seeing their standard of living pressurised, understandably, they feel very resentful for people who are not working.
"For people who are looking for a job and can't find a work it's deeply frustrating and then of course the small minority who don't want to work - well they are let off the hook by the fact there isn't a proper work programme", she added.
Chancellor George Osborne has insisted the public backs controversial Government benefit reforms, after the Prime Minister wrote today that the reforms are "putting fairness back."
Mr Osborne, who came in for criticism after he linked the case of child killer Mick Philpott to welfare, insisted he does not "set out to be divisive".
In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live, Mr Osborne claimed his views were "in tune with what the great majority of the country think and experience in their everyday lives".
He added: "I think it's striking that despite actually an attempt to get an alternative argument going this week, saying that all these changes to the welfare system over the last week have been unfair, the public don't accept that, the public agree with it."
With the Coalition's latest changes to the benefits system due to take effect tomorrow, the Prime Minister has been defending the reforms, saying they are "putting fairness back."
Labour now says its considering its own welfare shake-up, linking the level of benefits to the amount a person has paid in. Our Political Correspondent Alex Forrest reports.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne has accused George Osborne and David Cameron of playing "divide and rule" with attacks on people who claim benefits.
"The truth is that, for all their rhetoric about making work pay or supporting strivers, it is working families and those in real need who are footing the bill for the government's catastrophic economic failure," Mr Byrne said in an article in The Observer.
He went on to write:
Writing in The Sun, David Cameron has said the benefits system has "lost its way" and has become a "lifestyle choice for some".
Detailed work is under way on possible policy proposals that would mean benefit payments to those out of work or on low incomes would vary according to their past contributions, according to the Observer. It quotes a Labour party source saying:
In an article for the newspaper shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said:
Coalition benefit reforms are "putting fairness back at the heart of Britain", David Cameron insisted in a staunch defence of the controversial shake-up.
Writing for The Sun, Mr Cameron suggested it was "crazy" that claimants could have a bigger income on benefits than work and argued it is "fair that we all play by the same rules".
He added: "We are putting fairness back at the heart of Britain. We are building a country for those who work hard and want to get on. And we are saying to each and every hardworking person in our country: we are on your side.
"So this month we are making some big changes. They are changes that have a simple principle at their heart: we are restoring the fairness that should lie at the very heart of our tax and welfare systems."