Speaking to BBC Breakfast this morning, she said the government would try to help people “perhaps secure those extra hours”. However, in the commons this afternoon, Shadow Work and Pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds questioned Ms Coffey’s claims.
It was designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic.
In response to Ms Coffey’s explanation in today’s interview, a Government spokesperson said: “Many claimants are eligible for an in-work allowance, which means that the taper rate does not apply, and people keep more of what they earn.
“For the lowest earners working two hours more per week at National Living Wage can add up to around £20.
“Universal Credit will continue to provide vital support for those both in and out of work.
Labour also criticised Ms Coffey’s remarks, with the party’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, saying the minister “either knows she’s lying or shouldn’t be in the job”.
Mr Reynolds said the party would force a vote in the Commons this week “to give every MP the chance to back struggling families and cancel this cut”.
The weekly increase was introduced temporarily to help claimants weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic.
But ministers plan to start phasing out the increase from the end of September, based on individual claimants’ payment dates.
Recipients could lose £1,040 annually if the Prime Minister goes ahead with the cut.
However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has previously denied that ending the uplift would push more people into poverty.