Jeremy Hunt is mulling cuts to benefits to fund tax cuts in his autumn statement, it has been reported.
The chancellor said he will be looking at the way the sanctions regime works to urge people to get back into work, and could cut off free prescriptions and legal aid as part of a Government crackdown.
Reminders of a 2018 UN report into poverty in the UK have been doing the rounds on social media in the wake of the announcement.
Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, spent 12 days in the UK, concluding that drastic cuts to social support and welfare risk damaging the very fabric of British society.
He said the benefits system, epitomised by Universal Credit, is driven by the desire to get across a simple set of messages that the state “no longer has your back” and that “you are on your own”.
He said: “What goes along with that is a sense that we should make the system as unwelcoming as possible.
“That people who need benefits should be reminded constantly that they are lucky to get anything.
“That nothing will be made easy” and “that sanctions should be harsh, should be immediate and should be painful”.