Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has said he had been the victim of “cynical scaremongering” over the scale of the coalition cuts.
Speaking at a town hall-style debate in Sheffield, Mr Clegg, left, accused the Labour Party in Sheffield of spreading “insulting” political falsehoods.
The Sheffield Hallam MP was taking part in a question and answer session organised by the local newspaper The Star.
He was asked by a member of the public about the Big Society and the effect the cuts would have on it.
He said: “There is a lot of really, really cynical scaremongering.
“I have been, for months, subject to the most outrageous scaremongering from Labour in Sheffield, predicting the end of the world as we know it because of the cuts. The streets will not be cleaned.
“David Blunkett saying we are going to a post-Soviet era where people are going to have to fend for themselves. This is insulting.”
Mr Clegg was asked a range of questions during the hour-long session, ranging from tuition fees and the benefits of the Alternative Vote (AV) system to helping the unemployed get back to work.
Commenting on AV, he said it would disadvantage extremist parties such as the BNP.
He said: “The BNP is campaigning against AV as they realise it is far more difficult for them to get a foothold in Westminster.”
He said AV would allow the mainstream parties to “reach out to others” and it was a simple and fairer system used in other countries.
A quick straw poll of the audience revealed the majority were in favour of AV.