Chancellor George Osborne will announce an ambitious program of workhouse building when he presents his Budget on Wednesday.
'Every town and village in England will have its own workhouse,' a Treasury spokesman said.
The plan is a response to calls to boost the economy with capital and infrastructure investment and will be an essential element of the Coalition's New Poor Law 2013.
'Wee will erect within every borough a workehouse to sett poore people to worke,' said Department Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith who believes that the 19th century workhouse or 'spike' with its harsh regime of hard labour will replace his recent failed policy of setting poor people to work at Poundland.
The workhouses will be known as Gideon's Way Workhouses for the Destitute or George's Spikes.
People on JSA may be sent to a workhouse to be employed on tasks such as breaking stones, bone crushing to produce fertilizer, or picking oakum using a large metal nail known as a spike.
'It's the government's most exciting Back to the Workhouse program yet,' said Mr Duncan Smith.'It will help the unemployed back to work and give those who can't afford our bedroom tax a place to live - killing two poor people with one policy.'
Communities Minister Eric Pickles said:
'This measure means that impoverished people, often unemployed through no fault of their own, will be humiliated by being herded into an harsh and forbidding workhouse and forced to work long hours for a pittance (if indeed that) until they drop through sheer exhaustion. OK, it's not quite Poundland, but it's the next best thing and a brilliant idea.'
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the Liberal Democrats were resolutely opposed to the workhouse program and would be voting for the measure.
Mr Osborne - heir apparent to the Irish baronetcy of Ballentaylor and Ballylemon - is himself no stranger to hard times. As an undergraduate at Oxford he once had to borrow from his father to pay his subscription to the Bullingdon Club.
'George has never forgotten what it's like to be on your uppers,' said the Treasury spokesman.