Safeguarding Minister Rachel Maclean, admitted the idea would not work for all households, but said the solution for some people could be to look for additional work.
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A Government minister was slammed today for saying people struggling with the cost-of-living crisis will be able to take on more hours or simply get a better-paid job.  

Safeguarding Minister Rachel Maclean saids that long term the Government wanted people to be able to find better-paid work, or take on extra hours to make more money.

She admitted the idea would not work for all households, but said the solution for some people could be to look for additional work in the long term.

The comments come against a backdrop of soaring inflation, rising energy bills and high prices at the petrol pumps.

In a car crash media round this morning the Home Office minister got into a muddle over changes to stop-and-search powers unveiled by the department.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has extended the length of time the extra tough measures can be in force, from 15 to 24 hours. But Ms Maclean stumbled on LBC, suggesting it was 12 hours and blamed a lack of coffee.

She also appeared to contradict Boris Johnson’s demand that civil servants return to the office, saying those working from home in her department were ‘still delivering’ and not shirking.

Discussing the cost-of-living crisis on Sky News this morning she said: ‘I think what we need to focus on now is over the long-term.

‘We do have these short-term pressures on us that we’re all aware of. But over the long-term we need to have a plan to grow the economy and make sure that people are able to protect themselves better, whether that is by taking on more hours or moving to a better-paid job.

‘These are long-term actions but that is what we are focused on as a Government.’

Labour shadow cabinet minister Ian Murray said the ‘ludicrous’ advice appeared to hark back to Margaret Thatcher’s era of government. 

Safeguarding Minister Rachel Maclean, admitted the idea would not work for all households, but said the solution for some people could be to look for additional work.

Safeguarding Minister Rachel Maclean, admitted the idea would not work for all households, but said the solution for some people could be to look for additional work.

She also appeared to contradict Boris Johnson's demand that civil servants return to the office, saying those working from home in her department were 'still delivering' and not shirking. Mr Johnson is pictured in the United Arab Emirates yesterday

She also appeared to contradict Boris Johnson’s demand that civil servants return to the office, saying those working from home in her department were ‘still delivering’ and not shirking. Mr Johnson is pictured in the United Arab Emirates yesterday

WFH is woeful for your health: A fifth of those working from home exercise less, a third are eating more 

It could take years for the nation to recover from the negative health impacts of working from home, a report warns.

The lingering effects of the pandemic mean a fifth of those working from home exercise less while a third are eating more, according to research.

Half of people have not visited their GP in the past year and 60 per cent have not had a dental check-up, the findings reveal.

Experts warn it ‘may be some time’ before the UK returns to pre-pandemic levels of physical and mental health.

The risks of a sedentary lifestyle are well-documented, with previous studies suggesting that inactivity can be as harmful as smoking while spending more time sitting down is associated with an higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and blood clots.

The Wellbeing Index, by healthcare insurance company Bupa, is based on a survey of more than 8,000 adults in the UK in March.

About 15 per cent said they are still drinking more alcohol compared to the start of the pandemic while the mental health of 34 per cent has declined due to lockdowns and the impact of increased remote working.

The shadow Scotland secretary said: ‘Sounds like the Norman Tebbit ”get on your bike” instructions from the 1980s.

‘It’s so out of touch with reality that I’m sure the minister knows how ludicrous it is, but they’ll defend Boris Johnson at all costs.’

Ms Maclean said she was not ‘suggesting for one moment’ that such an option would work for everyone.

But she said those with extra capacity could visit job centres to apply for either more hours or better rewarded employment.

She added: ‘It may be right for some people, they may be able to access additional hours, but, of course, it is not going to work for people who are already in three jobs.

‘That’s why we need to have the other measures, such as all the help we are putting into schools, the help with the local authorities … and that’s where we are going to target help to where it is most needed.’

Speaking later to LBC, Ms Maclean said ‘nothing is off the table’ when it came to extending support to the public through the current crisis.

She was told that, even after £22 billion of support from central Government had been accounted for, food banks were facing increased demand and child poverty was predicted to rise by the winter.

‘You will know that the Chancellor always keeps everything under review in terms of the fiscal response,’ she replied.

‘What we want to do is make sure we are protecting families and help them to weather the storm, and you have seen that response coming into place, you have seen it all the way through the Covid pandemic.

‘Nothing is off the table and we will make sure we do everything we can to protect families.’

Last week Boris Johnson began a personal battle to get millions of Britons back to the office full time as he declared working from home just doesn’t work.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail the Prime Minister issued a rallying cry to businesses to help boost post-pandemic productivity and revitalise the UK’s town and city centres.

Mr Johnson even admitted that his own struggles with working from home – including ‘forgetting what it was you’re doing’ when you go to the fridge or struggling with Zoom calls – convinced him that Britain’s workforce is better off out of their spare rooms or kitchens and back at their desks.

He said: ‘We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office. I believe people are more productive, more energetic, more full of ideas, when they are surrounded by other people.

‘My experience of working from home is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee, and then you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing’.

It came as Mr Johnson revealed plans to cut 91,000 civil servant jobs and use the £3.5billion to help pay for tax cuts to ease the cost of living crisis. Today Jacob Rees-Mogg warned that union pressure to allow working from home as standard will drive investment out of the UK.

But Ms Maclean came out to bat for mandarins in her department today. She told Good Morning Britain civil servants are ‘working really hard’ and that they ‘are still delivering’ when working from home.

‘A lot of them are back at work and we certainly have civil servants in the Home Office – when I go back there today, they will be back at their desks,’ the safeguarding minister told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme.

‘I think the economy as a whole has moved to a more hybrid working pattern, I’m quite relaxed about that.

‘I think it is for employers to consider how best to achieve their outcomes. It is actually about performance and delivery.’

Asked whether she was ‘at odds’ with Government efficient minister Jacob Rees-Mogg on the issue of working from home, Ms Maclean said: ‘Not at all.’

She added: ‘We’ve had a pandemic, things have changed, people work differently.

‘If people work from home, it is incumbent on their managers and ministers, such as myself, to make sure they are still delivering. And actually, that’s what we are seeing in the Home Office.’

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