Chancellor George Osborne has come under fire after launching surprise plans to axe child benefit for higher earners.
Families where at least one person has a salary of £43,876 will be stripped of the benefit, losing £1,700 a year.
The Chancellor made the announcement at the Conservative Party Conference at the ICC, in Birmingham.
Mr Osborne was condemned by charities - and by Labour MPs - for launching an assault on successful and aspirational families.
But there was backing for the second major announcement in his keynote speech to the conference in Birmingham, a cap on the benefits any family can receive if nobody is in work.
Mr Osborne said that families who depend entirely on benefits would receive no more than the average working person gets in salary, around £26,000 a year. The only exception will be if someone in the household is disabled.
The move is to stop families raking in benefits for doing nothing, while neighbours receive far less despite going out to work.
Because benefits are not taxed, an income of £26,000 is actually equivalent to a salary of around £35,000.
About 50,000 families will lose an average of £93 a week when the new rule comes into force in 2013. However, many of those affected are likely to be in the south of England where councils are forced to pay sky-high levels of housing benefit to families in expensive rented accommodation.
Even Labour MPs said they backed the policy in principle but wanted to see full details of what the Government planned.
Richard Burden (Lab, Northfield) said: “Nobody disagrees in principle, but the Chancellor is saying this at the same time as his policies are putting people out of work.”
However, there was condemnation of plans to axe child benefit for people paying the higher rate of income tax.
Khalid Mahmood (Lab, Perry Barr) pointed out that a single person with children earning £50,000 will lose the benefit but a couple who both earn £40,000 - giving a combined income of £80,000 - will keep it.
Steve McCabe (Lab Selly Oak) said: “If your salary goes above £44,000 then you lose £1,700 in child benefit. It doesn’t motivate people to be aspirational.”
Speaking to the conference, Mr Osborne said: “Believe me, I understand that most higher rate taxpayers are not the super-rich.
“But a system that taxes working people at high rates only to give it back in child benefit is very difficult to justify at a time like this.
“And it’s very difficult to justify taxing people on low incomes to pay for the child benefit of those earning so much more than them.
“These days we’ve really got to focus the resources where they are most needed. We’ve got to be tough but fair.
“That’s why we will withdraw child benefit from households with a higher rate taxpayer.”