Conservative Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said there is "no magic money tree" to pay for further welfare support after being confronted about a soaring rise in the use of food banks.
In a heated early clash in the BBC election debate, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded to know if Ms Rudd had ever been to a food bank.
But the Tory cabinet minister, standing in for Theresa May who refused to attend the event, claimed spending commitments being promised by other party leaders were unfeasible.
Her response was sparked after Mr Corbyn accused the Conservatives of trying to strip welfare payments from disabled claimants. Broadening his attack, he went on to set out how Labour would increase corporation tax to 26 per cent to boost social care.
He added: "Amber Rudd seems so confident that this is a country at ease with itself - have you been to a food bank? Have you seen people sleeping around our train stations?"
But Ms Rudd accused Mr Corbyn of relying on a "magic money tree" and insisted the Conservative Government was looking after the most vulnerable in society.
She said: "I just have to take on some of Jeremy Corbyn's fantasy economics. He has this money-tree wish list in his manifesto.
"It's very easy to think about how you spend money, It's much harder to think about how you raise money.
"His proposals don't add up, it's though he thinks it's some sort of game. A game of Monopoly perhaps, where you ask the banker for the red money to buy the electrics, the green money to buy the railways and the yellow money to buy the gas works. Well it's not like that Jeremy, this is people's hard earned money."
Tim Farron launched a passionate defence of the welfare state, adding: "Anyone out there who thinks welfare is some sort of burden, has to remember that any one of us is only one or two steps from being in need at any given time."
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