Britain will be on "the road to ruin" without painful spending cuts and tax rises in the Budget, Chancellor George Osborne has warned.
Mr Osborne will unveil on Tuesday what is expected to be the harshest set of economic measures seen in decades in a bid to tackle the UK's record deficit.
Labour said the Government's determination to go "further and faster" with austerity measures was "profoundly misguided" and would "crush" the fragile recovery.
But Mr Osborne insisted it was unavoidable given the state of the nation's finances - promising measures would be "tough...but fair".
He said the package - which has been signed off by senior Government figures from both coalition parties - would set the framework for the next five years.
Asked just how bad the Budget measures would be, he said: "I do not see it as badness - I see it as decisive action to deal with Britain's record budget deficit.
"We sit here as the country in Europe with the largest budget deficit of any major economy at a time when markets and investors and businesses look around the world at countries that can't control their debts.
"We have got to deal with that. In that sense it is an unavoidable Budget."