Ed Miliband is warning Britons to be braced for the pain of deep spending cuts – and accuses Coalition ministers of being callous in how they wield the axe.
In his New Year message, the Labour leader denounces the "irresponsible pace and scale" of austerity measures which he says will be felt "by hard-working families".
"Many people feel powerless in the face of these decisions that will affect their lives, families and communities. The political forces in Whitehall which have made these choices appear forbidding and unheeding," he says.
Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, warned that 2011 would be "horrible", with rising unemployment and cuts to benefits and services.