By Marcus Leach

The 2011 Budget was announced last month, however, the majority of the cuts announced will only come into play today, which has been dubbed 'Black Wednesday'.

Forty-four tax and benefit changes will automatically take effect today, and coupled with the VAT rise at the start of the year could cost families more than £1700 a year according to Labour.

With oil prices also hitting a new high on Tuesday the 1p fuel duty cut announced in March's Budget has been wiped out.

Reports from the independent Resolution Foundation also suggest that over half a million parents will lose around £436 a year in child benefits. Some 1.7million taxpayers on higher rates will lose £210 a year, it says.

"Today will be a Black Wednesday for millions of families across Britain," said Mr Ed Balls.

"For many families, the first time they realise just how hard these changes will hit them will be in their pay packets over the coming weeks."

The Treasury hit back, saying 80 per cent of tax payers would be better off thanks to a rise in the income tax threshold. It said 21million people earning up to £35,000 would have more money in their wage packets each month.