The Department for Work and Pensions today issued guidelines considered by opponents to be the second wave of an attack on universality of benefits for people of pensionable age.
"We think it is morally wrong", a statement from the department and signed by several members of the Cabinet said, "that there are people in this country who have lived on state handouts for their whole lives, now draw exceptionally large pensions and claim benefits they simply don't need". It went on to describe one claimant in central London who "has had 133 portraits painted at the taxpayers expense".
"It is morally wrong", the Prime Minister later said in a typically soft interview on the ITV Daybreak sofa, "that hard-working families across the country fund lavish lifestyles. There's no reason for anyone to have 133 portraits of themselves. We've worked hard to ringfence benefits for the senior citizens of this country, but we can't rule out capping taxpayer-funded portraits to three or four in the future".