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'Brutal changes' to welfare warning

Wednesday September 22nd 2010

The welfare system could see "brutal changes" as a result of Government cuts, a trade union heavyweight has said.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber expressed his fears about the potential impact the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition austerity measures will have.

Mr Barber was addressing a fringe event at the Liberal Democrat conference when he attacked the Government's hardline approach ahead of the October spending review.

However, "fairness" will always be a factor for Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander for his input into the spending plan, he assured listeners at the event in Liverpool.

Mr Barber said: "I'm extremely fearful of what the consequences of the cuts that are now being planned are going to be.

"I'm fearful in quite a number of areas. I'm fearful that we might be about to see pretty major and pretty brutal changes to our welfare system."

He criticised the language used by ministers including Chancellor George Osborne to describe those on benefits.

"When I hear George Osborne talking about lifestyle choices that need to be taken away from them and so on I think the tone of that I find very worrying, indeed very offensive," he added.

"We have got two-and-a-half million people unemployed at the moment, one million young people desperately trying to find work."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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