Almost half will be plunged deeper into hunger – and further 13% ‘marginal’ and highly likely to be tipped over edge by cut
The Tories’ own latest data, from the government’s ‘Annual Resources Survey’, show that almost half of people forced to claim Universal Credit – 43% – are in food poverty under that benefit system. Huge numbers of people are literally unable to afford enough to eat.
The survey means that Boris Johnson and his Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey are fully aware of how much families are suffering under their draconian, consciously cruel and woefully inadequate system, condemned for its cruelty even by the UN – and yet the Tories are still pushing through a £20 per week cut to Universal Credit, reversing the ‘uplift’ that was brought in as a meagre response to additional hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The survey also show that an additional 13% of people claiming the benefit are ‘marginal’ – only just able to afford to eat and subject to hunger at any adverse circumstance. The £20 cut will push many of them, probably most, over the edge into food hunger.
Despite this, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Reynolds recently refused to say that his party would restore the £20 cut by the Tories if Labour won a general election. But while the party’s front bench declines to oppose, Labour’s backbenchers are standing up for people in hardship. Senior back-bench MP Jon Trickett has drawn attention to the sheer scale of the misery being inflicted on the most vulnerable and insecure:
But aside from a handful of back-bench MPs, in parliamentary terms the struggling people of this country are stuck between a literally murderous Tory government and a notional ‘opposition’ that doesn’t have the spine, wit or empathy to oppose and is busy trying to disassociate itself from a vision of cutting poverty, reducing inequality or even of opposing effectively.
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