A Tory MP has been heavily criticized for claiming that people who use food banks “can’t budget” or “can’t cook properly”.
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Lee Anderson “stunned” Parliament when he said there was no “massive benefit” for food banks “despite the country being hit by a living crisis due to rising inflation, cuts in Universal Credit and rising energy bills,” he said daily mirror.
The MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, claims People could instead “cook meals from scratch” for “30p a day”. “We have generations upon generations who can’t cook properly — they can’t prepare a meal from scratch — and they can’t budget,” he said.
The statements “triggered great outrage,” according to the “Mirror”. Andrew Forsey, national director of the charity Feeding Britain, said charities like his own are “increasingly grappling with utter hardship where people cannot afford the gas and electricity they need to cook meals from scratch “.
Poverty fighter Jack Monroe tweeted that “you can’t cook meals from scratch with nothing” and that “the problem isn’t ‘skills’ but 12 years of conservative cuts in social support”.
Twelve years ago, David Cameron came to power claiming that the Conservatives are “the best placed to fight poverty”. He accused the previous Labor government of making people dependent on the state, but his austerity program and welfare cuts have been criticized as tightening.
A ten year review of Professor Sir Michael Marmot and the UCL Institute of Health Equity found that austerity measures had taken “a significant toll on equity and health”. Marmot said poverty “has a grip on our nation’s health” and that something “went wrong”.
Even Tory backbencher Stephen Crabb admitted in 2020 that the government had “pushed too hard on benefits” during the austerity years, fueling distress in the country, he reported The Independent.
In the same year, an analysis of the results of the 2019 parliamentary elections was published by the British Election Study found that the Conservatives had become more popular with low-income people than with high-income people – which some have attributed to Boris Johnson’s promise to “get Brexit done”.
When the pandemic began, the Tories introduced free packed lunches to isolate children who would normally get free school meals, including on some holidays, and increased Universal Credit by £20 a week, but received widespread backlash when the policies were scrapped .
Headache on the cost of living
The cost-of-living crisis is now proving to be “the Tories’ biggest headache,” said Freddie Hayward at The new statesman. He attributed the Conservatives’ losses in the recent local elections to the party’s failure to address the plight of struggling families, citing research showing seven million adults lived in households that were buying less food in April or had to miss a meal.
writing for The guard Last month, Marmot warned that the “poorest people in the UK are about to face a new wave” of humiliation. “The cost-of-living crisis – and the Chancellor’s failure to deal with it – is unprecedented, with its threats to the health and well-being of the nation,” he said.
Rishi Sunak might disagree. In his last spring statement, he raised the Social Security thresholds to £12,570, among other things. Johnson, meanwhile, has touted £22billion in aid to those “most affected” by the crisis and hinted at more help.
But in his written introduction to the government’s legislative agenda for next year, the prime minister warned that “no country is immune” from the cost-of-living crisis, “and no government can realistically protect everyone from the effects”.
“Silent media interviews”
Katy balls at the i news Website agreed that “the really big factors that contributed to the crisis are mostly gone [the government’s] Control”. However, she added that there have been “a number of deaf media interviews – as Tory politicians struggle to say something about the hardship many are facing”.
Environment Secretary George Eustice has been called “patronizing” for suggesting families buy quality brands to save money. And the Prime Minister was “slammed” for trying to get credit for introducing free travel for the over-60s during an ITV interview, which told him a 77-year-old pensioner was being forced to travel all day in Riding buses to keep warm, the reported evening standard.
Anderson’s comments on budgeting opened up the party to further criticism, but appeals Sky news This morning Justice Secretary Victoria Atkins insisted his views did not represent her own or “anyone else in government”.
“We don’t just want to provide immediate relief, we want to provide longer-term support – and I really, really appreciate the efforts of food banks and volunteer groups across the country who work day in and day out to help people when they’re in dire need,” She said.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/politics/956720/lee-anderson-and-the-tories-thorny-relationship-with-the-poor Lee Anderson and the Tories’ troubled relationship with the poor