Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has defended the coalition's welfare reforms in the face of the latest onslaught from the church, insisting it was right to withdraw benefits from claimants who refused to look for work.
"At a time when we inherited this massive black hole in our public finances there is nothing fair about simply saying we are not going to deal with our debts, we are going to let our children and our grandchildren do it," he said, speaking on his weekly LBC radio phone-in.
"You inevitably can't duck the fact that some of those savings come from a quarter of total public spending.
"I have a huge amount of respect for Vincent Nichols, but I think that to say that the safety net has been removed altogether is an exaggeration, it is not right. We are trying to get the balance right."
More top news
Emergency services have declared a "major incident" in Leicester following reports of an explosion.
Parts of the UK will feel colder than the Arctic Circle in the coming week as bitter winds make it feel -15C in some places.