George Osborne delivered his much awaited Spending Review to a raucous House of Commons today.
Tomorrow's headlines will probably be dominated by the announcement that the State pension age will reach 66 by 2020, six years earlier than the previous Government's targeted date, although Labour had pledged the retirement age would go on to reach 68 by 2046.
The move is part of a drive for the Department of Work & Pensions to save £5bn per year by the end of the next parliament.
NEST was given a reprieve too, as Osborne confirmed the DWP would be given funding to introduce auto-enrolment from 2012.
Osborne justified the starkness of the Spending Review, arguing that it was necessary to bring the UK economy "back from the brink".
The Chancellor said he was aiming to completely pay down the structural deficit - the largest in Europe - by 2015-2016. The previous Labour government had expected the deficit to still be rising by 2014.
Following fears that winter fuel payments, free TV licences for over-75s, free eye tests and prescriptions and free bus passes, the coalition also vowed not to cut any universal benefits for pensioners.
Osborne promised a full public consultation on the discount rate of valuing public sector pensions. He told the House that the Government had largely accepted the findings of the recent Hutton review of public sector pensions and that there must be an increase in employee contributions to public sector pensions.
The Chancellor claimed public sector pensions should continue to provide defined benefit schemes and agreed with Hutton's sentiment that reform should not be a "race to the bottom".
Among reforms to the welfare state, the Government will use the next two parliaments to bring in a single credit for those out of work, for whatever reason.
Claimants of Employment & Support Allowance will be restricted to one year of beenfit payments.
Osborne used his speech to criticise the regulation of banks under Labour and outlined plans to introduce a permanent annual levy.
Describing how the industry had been "appallingly regulated" over the last decade, he underlined the coalition government's intention to ensure remuneration is adequately taxed.
He said: "We neither want to let off banks from making their contribution nor drive them abroad."
The speech also announced a budget boost of £900m for HM Revenue & Customs to crackdown on tax avoidance and claw back money owed.
Osborne said the investment would help reclaim £7bn in taxes lost through fraud and avoidance owed to the public purse.
Finally, Osborne reinforced last week's promise that Equitable Life with-profits policyholders will receivea £1.5bn compensation pay-out, with the first payments coming next year.
If you would like to relive the drama of the entire Spending Review, you can still read our full coverage of the speech as it happened.
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