By politics.co.uk staff
Parents will not be spared the requirement to work to continue to receive parents, Iain Duncan Smith has insisted.
The work and pensions secretary told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show that even those with a family to look after would risk losing their benefits if they refused to work.
Plans to toughen the benefits regime unveiled on Thursday would see those unwilling to take on a job where work is available lose their welfare payments for a maximum of three years.
"If you as a parent, in a family, point blank refuse to take work... then the answer is you will be losing some," Mr Duncan Smith said.
"You cannot now refuse to go to work if work is there and you have been offered that work."
The three-year plan is a significant increase in the punitive period from the current six months.
It forms part of the 'three-strikes-and-you're-out' policy outlined by George Osborne before the general election.
Those refusing to work will first lose their benefits for three months, then for six-months, before the final three-year jobseekers' allowance payments halt.