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Iain Duncan Smith Warns Of Benefit Cuts
Welfare claimants may in future only be able to have two children before facing curbs on their benefits, Iain Duncan Smith has indicated.
The Work and Pensions Secretary condemned the "madness" of the state subsidising poor families with lots of children.
He warned the current system encouraged people not to worry about the significant cost of a growing family.
Most families make decisions about the number of children to have based on what they can afford and what is workable, the senior Conservative told the BBC.
"People who are having support through welfare are often free from that decision," he said.
"We want to support people if they have children when they are out of work ... but what we also want to say is really 'is there an endless point to this?'," he said.
"Can there not be a limit to the fact that really you need to remember you need to cut your cloth in accordance with what capabilities and what finances you have?"
The Cabinet minister denied the number of families he is talking about is tiny, insisting it involved "large numbers".
"This is madness...," he said. "My view is that, if you did this, we would start it for those who begin to have more than, say, two children."
He added that it had been accepted "for far too long" that people could just stay on benefits "and we write them off".
"You can't just sit there and gather more and more on benefits. Benefits should be, for many people - unless you are chronically sick - a temporary place, a place you then move on (from) and into work."
Chancellor George Osborne intends to slash another £10bn by 2016/17 from the welfare budget on top of the £18bn already being cut as he attempts to balance the books.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: "For all the tough talk, the truth is it's working people who are seeing their help axed. Never before have working people paid so much in and got so little back.
"We were promised a welfare revolution and all we've got is welfare chaos - chaos that working people are being forced to pay for."