Putting social relationships, rather than the impersonal state, at the heart of the welfare system offers a route out of the negative debate about ‘scroungers’.
The shadow chancellor's latest display of fiscal responsibility is a major political gamble.
An alliance of 11 churches condemns Iain Duncan Smith and Grant Shapps for their misuse of benefit statistics.
If measures designed to tackle low pay and reduce rents fail to make sufficient progress, the danger is that families will be further impoverished.
The speech successfully addressed two of the biggest grievances with the system: "the something for nothing" problem and "the nothing for something" problem.
In his speech on welfare, Miliband will announce that Labour would cap "structural welfare spending" and will criticise those "who could work and aren’t doing so".
The party believes in shifting spending from universal benefits such as child benefit and the winter fuel allowance to services such as childcare and social care.
A two-tier system of benefits for job seekers, with higher entitlements for those with strong work records, could be funded by reducing spending on mortgage interest.
Not only will Labour be unable to reverse the coalition's cuts, it will have to make its own.
Balls's announcement is an attempt to exploit the divide between the Tories and Lib Dems on this issue and to demonstrate his commitment to fiscal discipline.