British MP Therese Coffey says people struggling with food prices should 'work more hours'

A British Cabinet minister is facing backlash after she claimed people struggling with food prices should pick up more work hours.

Over the past three years, food prices have peaked in the UK, due to COVID-19 and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In January the British Retail Consortium reported food price inflation rose above 13 percent in December, compared to 12 percent the previous month.

Speaking in Parliament, environment secretary Therese Coffey admitted the cost of living crisis was "really tough" for UK families.

"Of course we do know that one of the best ways to boost their incomes is not only to get into work if they're not in work already, but potentially to work some more hours, to get upskilled, to get a higher income."

However Coffey was challenged by Labour's Rachael Maskell about people struggling to afford food.

Maskell said "that's appalling" as Coffey answered her concerns about food banks in New York running bare on supplies, the Daily Mail reported.

"It is shocking that the Environment Secretary shifted blame for food poverty onto people because they are on low wages and are poor, expecting them to work even more hours to put food on the table," she told the Daily Mail after the meeting.

"People are going hungry, often limiting themselves to one small meal a day or missing food altogether."

She told the Daily Mail it's time her government supported families in need, rather than "making them work harder for a crust".

And a fellow Labour MP reflected on Coffey's comment on Friday morning.

"This Government is utterly out of touch with working class people," Nadio Whittmore told the Daily Mail.