A British Cabinet minister says the middle classes are unaware of the scale of government spending cuts that will hit them this year.
Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said the coalition should be prepared for political difficulty when Middle England feels the full impact.
He told the Daily Telegraph that he did not envisage a "quick rebound" for an economy in a "calamitous" state.
Mr Clarke told the Telegraph: "The public knows we've got to do something about it, (but) I don't think Middle England has quite taken on board the scale of the problem."
Shadow Treasury Chief Secretary Angela Eagle said Mr Clarke should be worried about "economic difficulty", not just political difficulty.