GOVERNMENT deceit over its campaign to drive people into low-paid work by cutting benefits was exposed yesterday after the Tories crowed over the number of its victims.
Figures from the government’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that the number of “workless” households has fallen by 189,000 from last year, still leaving 3.1 million households where no-one is employed.
Government ministers hailed the findings which they attributed to their benefit-slashing policies.
Employment Minister Damian Hinds said: “Welfare reforms like the benefit cap and universal credit are giving people clear incentives to move off benefits and into work so they can provide a brighter future for themselves and their families.”
But shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams MP said the figures actually expose the government’s deceit.
“By trying to shift the focus away from income to workless households, the Tories are claiming success on an issue that the ONS report shows has been declining since Labour took office in 1997,” she said.
Ms Abrahams added: “There are currently nearly seven million working families living in poverty, including 2.5 million children.
“If the government is serious about social reform, they should stop patting themselves on the back and start tackling the problems of low pay, insecurity and a lack of progression at the bottom end of the labour market.”
The Resolution Foundation, which works to improve living standards, said in a report in October that one in five British employees — or 5.5 million individuals — are low paid, and “extreme low pay” affected 2 per cent of employees.