Labour MPs accused stony-hearted Prime Minister David Cameron today of plunging Britain back to the hungry 1930s through new plans to freeze benefits for the poor and the sick.
Vicious proposals to freeze welfare benefits for two years were first leaked to the BBC.
Then a spokesman for Mr Cameron failed to deny the story.
Campaigning MP Michael Meacher said the idea that poor, disabled and sick people were going to suffer a year-on-year reduction in their living standards was "grotesquely unfair and unjust."
He warned: "This is an attack on a scale that we have not known in this country since the 1930s."
The plans came at a time when the richest 1,000 people in Britain had increased their wealth by £155 billion over the last three years, said Mr Meacher.
A Downing Street spokesman confirmed that an annual announcement on benefit levels was due in December.
He added complacently: "On some occasions entitlements are frozen."
The new onslaught on benefits is a result of Chancellor George Osborne's demand for an extra £10bn of welfare cuts to plug gaping holes in the government's finances.
At present, benefits are up-rated annually in line with the rise in the consumer prices index of inflation.
But the government is now considering slashing the real value of many welfare benefits by freezing payments for two whole years, and from then onwards linking them to rises in average pay levels.
Left Labour MP John McDonnell declared angrily: "We haven"t seen this sort of savagery of the poor since the last days of the Poor Law in the '30s.
"It means more children will go to bed hungry in the sixth richest country in the world.
"There are no limits to the suffering these rich brutes in government want to impose on the poorest and most vulnerable in our society."
Miners' MP Ian Lavery said: "It's the real face of the nasty party. Poorer people are being robbed to pay for the bankers' crisis.
"Low-paid workers are being hammered by a double-whammy.
"No increase in wages and no increase in their benefits.
"Cameron and his cronies should try living on the luxurious amount of £71 per week," said Mr Lavery.
"It's a bottle of cheap champagne to them."
Renfrewshire Labour MP Jim Sheridan said: "I am concerned that my constituents on benefits could be left to make impossible decisions between feeding their families and heating their homes."
Another leaked report suggested that the Prime Minister may also abandon his pledge to introduce a controversial flat-rate £140 pension for future pensioners, due to be detailed in a white paper later this year.
National Pensioners Convention spokesman Neil Duncan-Jordan commented that the scheme was "a dog's breakfast" anyway which would create a two-tier pensions system.
He added: "We want a pension of at least £178 per week paid to all existing and future pensioners."
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