A TORY minister sparked backlash this morning after refusing to say whether she could live on a £5.84-an-hour furlough wage.

Under the Chancellor’s new furlough scheme people earning minimum wage, which is £8.72 per hour for over-25s, would only receive two thirds of their usual pay.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey was asked on Sky News this morning whether she could survive on this kind of cash – but the minister failed to answer the question several times.

Her appearance on the programme comes days after it emerged MPs are set for a £3360 pay rise next year.

Coffey told Kay Burley: “In terms of 5.84 an hour, I think you’re suggesting that’s two-thirds of the minimum wage. Of course if people have potentially that level of income coming in then they can turn to Universal Credit, they may be eligible for that depending on household income.”

The presenter stressed that this extra support depends on several factors, meaning the reality is some people will be expected to live on £5.84 per hour. Burley again asked if Coffey could live on that.

But the minister avoided the question: “I think the question is the welfare safety net will actually help top that up through the Universal Credit system. If that’s your sole source of income then that will be the way to try and get support.”

Pushed again after admitting Universal Credit may not be available to freelancers, Coffey told viewers: “£5.84 an hour is an amount that is there that can be topped up by Universal Credit.”

Coffey has been hit by several scandals this year, including anger over her “heartless” response to Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign.

Hannah Jane Parkinson shared this morning’s clip on Twitter, adding: “Therese Coffey really does lower the bar every single time doesn’t she.”

It comes after the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden also refused to say if he could live on the UK Government’s new minimum wage for furloughed workers.

Speaking to Sky on Monday, Dowden said: "I know these are very challenging times but in order to control the virus we are having a big impact on the economy.

"In order to control this virus we're having a big impact on the economy and the Chancellor has taken unprecedented measures to try and ameliorate the worst impacts of it."