Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith says he would not accept a suggested extra £​10bn of benefit cuts. He told the Times that welfare should not be "​an easy target"​ and the government had "​a responsibility to support people in difficulty"​.

The government identified an £​18bn reduction in welfare spending by 2014 in last month'​s Budget.

Chancellor George Osborne says an extra £​10bn cut in welfare spending would avoid extra cuts for other departments.

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