Cabinet ministers have vowed to stand firm against "vested interests" pleading for special treatment in the upcoming round of public spending cuts.
Lobby groups seeking exemption from the pain of next month's Spending Review must be challenged, agreed senior members of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.
The meeting came a day after the president of the Police Superintendents' Association, Derek Barnett, warned that any cuts must leave forces strong enough to cope with the social and industrial tensions which could be caused by Chancellor George Osborne's austerity package.
His was the latest in a series of blood-curdling warnings of the damage the Chancellor's axe could inflict on areas ranging from the armed forces to public sector workers, schools, firefighters and benefit claimants.
The annual TUC congress in Manchester this week heard predictions of "obscene" reductions in frontline public services as a result of the billions expected to be slashed from departmental budgets.
Interventions such as the Police Federation's warning that reduced police numbers would be "Christmas for criminals" were this morning denounced as "irresponsible" by Government sources.
This cabinet meeting agreed a three-point political plan for the weeks ahead of the October 20 Spending Review.