The Chancellor George Osborne has said that the Conservative government plans to make a "further £25bn of permanent public expenditure savings or new taxes" in order to eliminate the deficit.

Addressing the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Osborne said that he will freeze working age benefits for two years, with public sector wages also set to be frozen in the next parliament should Osborne's party hold on to power after next year's elections.

The benefits cap will be reduced to £23,000. Housing benefit will also face reform.

Osborne said the measures will save the economy £3bn, which will be pumped straight into a programme to create 3 million new apprenticeships over the next parliament.

Having earlier announced that he will eliminate the 55% tax on pensions left by those aged 75 or over, Osborne used his speech to confirm that the policy will be "effective from today".

The chancellor also referred to the debate over multinational corporate tax evasion, saying that big global technology companies must start paying the correct level of corporation tax in the UK.

The general theme of the speech was clear: Osborne plans to continue the programme of austerity he has pursued since 2010, which he defended by saying that "Britain is the fastest growing, most job creating, most deficit reducing of any major advanced economy on earth".

Osborne also said that he will look to close the equality gap between the north and south of the UK.