Labour will be tougher than the Tories when it comes to slashing the benefits bill, Rachel Reeves, the new shadow work and pensions secretary, has insisted in her first interview since winning promotion in Ed Miliband's frontbench reshuffle.
In an interview with the Observer, Ms Reeves said: "Nobody should be under any illusions that they are going to be able to live a life on benefits under a Labour government.
"It is not an either/or question. We would be tougher [than the Conservatives]. If they don't take it [the offer of a job] they will forfeit their benefit. But there will also be the opportunities there under a Labour government".
Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves said the Conservatives "have shown once again that they only ever stand up for a privileged few not for hard working families” following George Osborne's conference speech.
Ms Reeves continued: "The few things he has said are already unravelling. His panicky announcement on fuel duty turns out to be just an aspiration if he can find savings elsewhere.
"The IFS [Institute for Fiscal Studies] has said the marriage tax break will help just 28 per cent of married couples and only 15 per cent of families with children.
"And his work scheme turns out to be less ambitious than Labour’s compulsory jobs guarantee."