A packed Labour fringe event on Tuesday night heard how the squeeze on low and middle-earners is throwing millions of families into poverty.
Dubbed "moving from family austerity to family fairness" the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), retail union Usdaw and research organisation Resolution Foundation came together to warn against the long-term effects of government cuts.
CPAG's leader Alison Garnham said the coalition's policies are "going in the wrong direction" and will miss the group's target to end child poverty by 2020.
Usdaw political officer Ruth George lamented the constant fight against low wages that typify the retail sector. She said this was the cause of many families living below the breadline and the Resolution Foundation's Gavin Kelly agreed: "Pay has got to be at the heart of the debate if we want to see people's living standards improve.
"I've been depressed at the ease in which all the gains that support working families have been taken away."
Ms George also criticised the government cuts directed at working families, including scrapping child trust funds and scaling back tax credits.
But she said the "most horrendous cut" is the insidious rule change requiring couples with children to increase their weekly hours from 16 to 24 in order to qualify for working tax credits, which she argued has fuelled the "benefit scrounger" mentality.
Foreign Minister Alistair Burt's admission that the Cameron government has "supported" a survey of attitudes to US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas amounts to a tacit admission of British involvement.