02 September 2016
The government has been accused of trying to shift the focus away from the near seven million families living in poverty in the UK by talking about worklessness instead of income.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams made the comments after the Conservatives congratulated themselves on new Office for National Statistics figures showing “workless” households – those in which no person is employed – have fallen by around 189,000 since last year.
The Labour frontbencher explained that workless households have been in decline since 1997, when Labour took office, describing the government’s focus on them as highlighting “the deceit at the heart of this Tory government’s life chances rhetoric”.
There is significant concern that people are being pushed into accepting low income and insecure jobs by the government’s draconian welfare cuts and sanctions policies, and that higher employment rates therefore do not reflect higher incomes or lower instability for British families.
“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,” Debbie Abrahams said.