The DWP boss claimed more than £201,000 in parliamentary expenses between 2019 and 2020, according to figures obtained from the Indepependent Pariamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
The Suffolk Coastal MP received £201,278.38 in handouts from taxpayers at a time when many families across the UK were being asked to tighten their belts, and many more were turning to foodbanks to put food on the table.
It comes as Therese Coffey was challenged on comments made to the BBC, where she argued that those affected by the upcoming Universal Credit cut – up to £1040 a year – could undo damage by working “about two hours’ extra work every week”.
Coffey told BBC Breakfast: “I’m conscious that £20 a week is about two hours’ extra work every week – we will be seeing what we can do to help people perhaps secure those extra hours, but ideally also to make sure they’re also in a place to get better paid jobs as well.”
Her comments were immediately pounced upon by benefit experts and opposition MPs, who said her remarks showed a lack of knowledge and understanding about how the new benefit system works.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “This is a lie and the work and pensions secretary either knows she’s lying or shouldn’t be in the job.”
The Resolution Foundation think tank pointed out that due to the Universal Credit taper rate, claimants take home as little as £2.24 for every extra hour worked.
This means that a Universal Credit claimant on minimum wage would need to work an extra six hours a week to make up the £20 shortfall.
Adam Corlett, Principal Economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The Government has tried to justify the coming cut to Universal Credit – and the huge income loss facing millions of households – by saying that it can easily be offset by simply working a few more hours. If only it were that simple.
“Many of those receiving Universal Credit aren’t expected to work at all. And even for those in a position to work, a claimant on the National Living Wage will take a home as little as £2.24 from an extra hour’s work.
“A small increase in working hours will be nowhere near enough to cover the £20 a week cut coming their way in just one month’s time.
“Given the scale of losses coming to millions of low-and-middle income households this Autumn, at the same time as bills are rising, the Chancellor should change course on Universal Credit.”
Jonathan Reynolds MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “The Secretary of State’s comments this morning were an insult to hard working families facing this cut. One in 14 British workers will lose out, including 660,000 key workers.
“Labour will force a vote this week to give every MP the chance to back struggling families and cancel this cut.”