Harsh reality of spending cuts
Listen hard in Whitehall and you'll hear the sound of ministerial squealing as ministers have to turn their rhetoric about tackling the deficit into the painful reality of spending cuts.
Although negotiations between the Treasury and the Department of Work and Pensions are far from over, George Osborne's letting it be known that he's confident of saving £4bn from the welfare budget which he told me today is "completely out of control". This is in addition to the £11bn of welfare cuts - to be made by 2014/5 - which he announced in the Budget.
The Treasury says that the exact composition of the cuts is still being discussed but the chancellor told me he's targeting "people who think that it's a lifestyle choice to just sit on out of work benefits". When I challenged him to explain how his promise is different from that made by politicians of both main parties in the past, Mr Osborne replies "the money won't be there to support that lifestyle choice".
The chancellor also made it clear that arguments are still raging about whether more can be found by limiting payments to pensioners - such as the winter fuel allowance, bus pass and free TV licence - without breaking David Cameron's election promise to maintain them. The Treasury is pushing for any saving it can but the prime minister is concerned, I'm told, not to follow the example of George Bush Senior who proclaimed "read my lips: no new taxes" and then put them up.
The £4bn savings figure assumes no savings from these universal benefits which are paid to everyone of a certain age regardless of their income.
Combined with the earlier savings of £11b this is still a relatively modest saving - around 6% - on the annual welfare budget. However, the fierce arguments about saving less than £2bn from housing benefit shows how politically toxic welfare cuts can be.