People struggling during the cost-of-living crisis should consider taking longer hours at work or moving to a better paying job, a government minister has said.
Rachel Maclean, Minister for Protection at the Home Office, admitted the idea would not work for all households, but said the solution for some people may be to seek additional work.
The comments come amid soaring inflation, rising energy bills and high prices at the gas pump.
“We are under these short-term pressures that we are all aware of.
“But in the long term, we need to have a plan to grow the economy and make sure people are able to protect themselves better, whether that’s by taking more hours or getting better paying jobs.
“These are long-term actions, but that is what we are focused on as a government.”
Ms Maclean said she was not “suggesting for a moment” that such an option would work for everyone.
But she said those with extra capacity could go to job centers to apply either for more hours or for a better paying job.
She added: “It may work for some people, they may be able to access overtime, but of course it will not work for people who are already working three jobs.
Labor Shadow Cabinet Minister Ian Murray said the “ridiculous” advice appeared to date back to the era of Margaret Thatcher’s government.
Scotland’s shadow secretary said: “It sounds like Norman Tebbit’s ‘get on your bike’ instructions from the 1980s.
“It’s so out of touch with reality that I’m sure the Minister knows how ridiculous it is, but they will defend Boris Johnson at all costs.”
Speaking to LBC later, Ms Maclean said ‘nothing is out of place’ when it comes to extending support to the public during the current crisis.
He was told that even after factoring in £22billion of central government support, food banks were facing increased demand and child poverty was expected to rise by winter.
“You will know that the Chancellor is always monitoring everything in terms of the budgetary response,” she replied.
“What we want to do is make sure we protect families and help them weather the storm, and you’ve seen that response come together, you’ve seen it throughout the Covid pandemic.
“Nothing is ruled out and we will make sure to do everything we can to protect the families.”