Chancellor George Osborne has claimed that the government's reforms to the UK's tax and welfare systems will create three million new jobs up to 2018, as he unveiled a new crackdown on the unemployed.

Osborne said he was now "working to build an economy that supports full employement".

The Conservative MP also defended the government's decision to impose new controversial conditions on unemployed people claiming benefits, stating that jobless people did not face enough pressure to find work under the last Labour government.

Osborne argued that the Coalition "inherited a welfare system that did not work" and that there was "not enough" help for those looking for a job.

"People were just parked on benefits," Osborne said. "Frankly, there was not enough pressure to get a job - some people could just sign on and get almost as much money staying at home as going out to work."

"That's not fair to them - because they get trapped in poverty and their aspirations are squashed."

From 7 March people on the "Help to Work" scheme, which is aimed at around 200,000 over 24-year-olds who have been out of work for a year and those on the Work Programme for more than two years, will have to accept a community work placement if they are still signed onto Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA).

The news comes after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that the number of people in work in the UK hit a record high of more than 30 million people in the three months to January.

But the research body also disclosed that the country's unemployment rate remained at 7.2%.