Unemployed claimants who turn down offers of work will see their benefits cut for up to three years.

The welfare reforms have been revealed by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith in the Welfare Reform White Paper.

Under the new measures, unemployed claimants will lose their Jobseekers Allowance if they turn down offers of work, refuse to apply for jobs or fail to turn up for interviews.

The allowance will be taken away for three months on the first offence, six months for the second breach and three years on the third.

“Choosing not to work, if you can work, is no longer an option,” said Mr Duncan Smith.

The new rules are expected to be introduced by 2013 in a bid to cut the bill for Jobseekers Allowance which is claimed by 1.5 million people.