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Page last updated at 07:39 GMT, Friday, 10 September 2010 08:39 UK

'It's too easy to hit the poor'


Chancellor George Osborne has said he plans to cut a further £4bn from the welfare bill by targeting people who make a "lifestyle choice to just sit on out-of-work benefits".

But speaking on the programme Theresa Perchard, of the Citizen's Advice Bureau, said that the value of benefits and penalties against those not seeking work meant the system did allow the kind of lifestyle the chancellor described.

"A system where people are making a comfortable choice to live on job seekers allowance indefinitely is not one we recognise," she said.

But for Conservative MP Michael Fallon, the issue was not so much about lifestyle but incentives.

"It simply isn't sufficiently worthwhile for some people to get out there and seek work, and that's what we've got to change," he told John Humphrys.

Labour MP John McDonnell, however, said the announcement was a "publicity stunt", arguing that the vast majority of jobseekers are desperate to find work.

"In a recession, if you start cutting benefits in this way, you impoverish people. It's too easy to hit the poor," he said.

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