The government is to take action against high earners who live in taxpayer-subsidised accommodation.

Writing in the Sun, chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said people earning more than £30,00 a year - or £40,000 in London - who live in council or housing association property can afford the market rent that others on their salaries pay.

He said it is "time to act" to address this issue and ensure that if they wish to stay in their homes, they must "pay the market rent or at least something close to it".

Mr Osborne insisted this is a "simple matter of fairness", as the "hardworking taxpayer" should not be expected to foot the bill for these individuals.

The chancellor insisted that Britain cannot keep spending more on benefits for people of working age than it can afford, adding it is wrong to suggest the "right way to support working people is to have a higher and higher welfare bill.

Mr Osborne went on to stress that more homes need to be built in the UK as part of a wider effort to "take the British economy up a gear".