Clegg defends welfare reform plans
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has defended the coalition's controversial welfare reforms, insisting they will bring 300,000 households back into work.
Mr Clegg highlighted the potential advantages of the plans despite concerns among many Liberal Democrats.
His intervention, in an article for The Guardian, came as MPs debated housing benefit curbs that Labour claims will hit the poorest.
Mr Clegg said the creation of the universal credit to replace all other means-tested handouts would help ensure people were always better off if they were employed.
Those who currently declined part-time work for fear of losing out financially would in future be able to take it, the Lib Dem leader insisted.
"Our reforms will effectively remove the artificial disincentives created by existing rules about the numbers of hours people have to work," he wrote.
"It must always be worth working, even for a few hours a week. Taken together, our welfare reforms should reduce the number of workless households by 300,000 within three years of implementation."