The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said Channel 4 programme Benefits Street reflects "a culture in which people have kind of given up in some cases on the idea of legitimate work...and education as a way out of poverty and difficulty".
Speaking to ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen, he added: "The system we have created over many years as politicians has created the kind of perverse choices that people make in Benefits Street and others.
"I want to change the system so the choices they make are positive".
Cuts and freezes to benefits have made people "fear future cuts" and penalised hard-working taxpayers who have fallen on hard times, according to one union.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady also dismissed claims reforms have left people more secure as "ridiculous":
Iain Duncan Smith's claim to have made people feel more secure through his cuts to the welfare safety net is ridiculous.
Across the country people fear the bedroom tax, and harsh and unfair disability assessments. They are worried however hard they have worked and contributed, they will soon be made to wait five weeks before receiving any benefit if they lose their job.
The truth is that welfare fraud has just gone up, while millions of hard-working families have suffered from tax credit cuts and the child benefit freeze, and a whole new generation now fear future cuts to help for young people.
Our real success has been to reframe the argument - challenging a narrative beloved of the left, which focuses so exclusively on how much is being spent on welfare that it risks overlooking the real question ... that it is not about how much goes into the benefit system, but what difference it makes to people at the other end.
In a speech to be given later today, work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith is expected to say the money saved by reforming benefits has also made people "feel more hopeful about their children's lives".
Speaking after new figures showed a fall in unemployment, and an increase in the number of people in work to more than 30 million, Mr Duncan Smith will emphasise the scale of the task the Government has set.
In a speech at a Centre for Social Justice event, the Conservative MP will accuse opponents of "angling for a return to the failed and expensive policies of the past".