POLITICS
17/08/2012 11:54 BST | Updated 17/08/2012 11:57 BST

Tory MPs Accuse British Workers Of 'Preferring A Lie-In To Hard Work'

David Cameron must condemn "insulting" Tory MPs who have accused the British workforce of being too lazy, the Labour Party has said.

In views outlined in a forthcoming book and reported by the Evening Standard, Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Elizabeth Truss, urge the prime minister to do more to boost the British economy.

In the book, Britannia Unchained — Global Growth and Prosperity, the MPs are reported to criticise British workers as among “the worst idlers” in the world.

"Too many people in Britain, we argue, prefer a lie-in to hard work," they say.

“Britain will never be as big as China or Brazil, but we can look forward to a new generation, ready to get to work.

"If we are to take advantage of these opportunities, we must get on the side of the responsible, the hard working and the brave. We must stop bailing out the reckless, avoiding all risk, and rewarding laziness.”

Chuka Umunna, Labour's shadow business secretary, said the comments were "deeply insulting" to British workers.

"First they blame British businesses for their economic failures and now they blame the people who work within them, showing how out of touch the Tory party has become," he said.

He added: “Arguing that working Britons are 'the worst idlers in the world' is deeply insulting. People who work hard, play by the rules and pay their taxes shouldn't have to put up with Tory MPs calling them lazy - especially when prices are rising faster than their wages, their tax credits are being cut and Britain is in a double dip recession made in Downing Street.

"David Cameron should immediately distance himself from this attack on hard working British families, and get on with finding a plan for jobs and growth instead of blaming British workers for his failure to deliver it."

Photo gallery See Gallery

The Tory MPs strategy was revealed soon after a poll by YouGov showed the majority of people thought it was politicians who did not work hard enough and were paid too much.

The survey published on Wednesday showed that 60% of people think politicians' salary of £65,738 is too much, while 28% said they are paid the right amount. Only 5% of those asked think MPs are paid too little.

In news that will depress many MPs, 43% of those asked thought their representatives in Westminster did not work for enough hours and only 8% think they worked too hard. The poll showed that 31% said MPs work about the right amount.