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Tories plan to cut welfare state by £21 billion by 2014/15

There is no doubt that the welfare state is at the centre of cost-cutting exercises by the coalition government with a previous estimate of £11 billion of savings by 2014/15 having been increased by £7 billion with a further £3 billion of "waste" also identified. This is a major reversal of recent times which have seen the welfare state, predominantly benefit payments, mushroom out of control and take over the lives of many people around the UK.

However, the major risk by the coalition government is that this may create a large gap between Labour Party policies and the coalition government policies. At a time when many people in the UK are struggling to make ends meet, prior to these austerity measures, the fact that benefits will be reduced over the next four years will not go down well. This is probably a spending review which will be more appreciated years down the line when hopefully the UK economy has risen again and the welfare state is more under control.

As many had believed during the run-up to the election, George Osborne has been given something of a poisoned chalice and forced to make unpopular decisions in his first few months in office. Can he turn around the economy and keep the faith of voters for the next election?

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