Coalition to slash benefits again?

Iain Duncan Smith has offered to slash an extra 10% in welfare spending a year in order to help the Coalition maintain spending on the armed forces and the police.

It's thought the key areas now vulnerable will be housing benefit for the under-25s and tightening benefits to families with more than two children. How likely are the cuts? %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

More cuts?

The offered spending reductions came about when, the Telegraph claims, the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, contacted the Home and Defence Secretaries following apparent concern about the impact of cuts on national security.

So far Osborne has confirmed there are no more planned cuts to welfare because of significant cuts already made, including capping benefit rises by 1%. However, he also says that so far he's only found 20% of the spending savings for the 2015/16 Spending Review - Osborne wants spending to be cut by £11.5bn in total - which will be publicised on 16 June.

Strategically, the Lib Dems would be strong opposed to any more benefit cuts. But some kind of deal - possibly - could be cut were the Tories willing to re-think their attitude to means-testing for better-off pensioners.

Tension

Either way, it means more Conservative-Lib Dem tension. "They said their plan would balance the books by the next election," said Labour shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Chris Leslie, "but their failure on growth and jobs means the deficit is now set to be over £90 billion in 2015."

"That's why the Chancellor is now asking for even more spending cuts, with most big departments yet to reach agreement."

Meanwhile seven government departments have agreed provisionally cuts of up to 10%, Osborne said this morning, the Guardian reports, including Justice, Energy, Communities, the Treasury and Northern Ireland.

10 PHOTOS
Where are Britain's highest tax bills?
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Coalition to slash benefits again?
St Albans come in second on the list with a total income tax bill of £10,900 per person.
Windsor and Maidenhead came third with a total income tax bill of £10,200 per person.
The Surrey town of Guildford was fourth on the list with a total income tax bill of £9,830 per person.
England's capital city came fifth with a total income tax bill of £8,580 per person.
Wokingham has a total income tax bill of £7,490 per person. Putting it in sixth place.
Dacorum in Hertfordshire comes in joint sixth place with a total income tax bill of £7,490 per person.
The leafy towns of Reigate and Banstead have a total income tax bill of £7,000 per person.
Tonbridge and Malling take joint seventh spot with a total income tax bill of £7,000 per person.
Wycombe comes last in the top ten with a total income tax bill of £6,820 per person.

A small corner of leafy Surrey has taken the top spot in the league table of the highest income tax bills per person. Residents of Elmbridge pay an astonishing £1.18 billion in income tax every year. That puts a number of the major cities in the shade.
The leafy towns of Esher, Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames are filled with mansions, private estates, country clubs, golf courses, and riversides packed with millionaires. The proximity of Chelsea's training ground in Cobham has also brought well-paid sportsmen to the area.

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