With the start of the new tax year, more than 40 changes to the tax and benefit system are being introduced which, on average, will take 0.75% of household incomes away.
Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander told Evan Davis that the tax increases were concentrated at the top.
"It is an average gain for 80% of people, a much more significant loss for the people at the top," he said.
"If a country isn't able to deal with its finance problems it's not the rich who lose out as a result of that, it's the poorest who get hit hardest when those problems are not dealt with.
"And you know if we dragged out these cuts over a longer period, the consequence would be more cuts for more people for a longer period of time, and more money wasted in the mean time on debt interest."
Economics editor Stephanie Flanders said within the "blooming complicated" tax system, the changes were very difficult to calculate.
"For every example Labour finds for a middle or low earner who is loosing, the government can find one who has gained," she said.
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