Labour secured an opposition day debate this week on the rising levels of inequality and poverty in our country and how this is placing a roadblock to social mobility.
I couldn’t help but raise my utter exasperation that at a time when we keep getting told there is no money left by the UK Government, one of the contenders for the job of Prime Minister – Boris Johnson MP – wants to give a tax cut to those earning between £50-£80,000.
At a time when unemployment in Delyn remains above 1,000 people for 9 consecutive months, over-75s are losing their free TV licences and child poverty in some wards is at 30% I believe there are much better uses for this money.
Labour secured an Urgent Question this week to hold the UK Government to account for the loss of free TV licences for over-75s announced this week. From June 2020 only those who claim Pension Credit will be eligible.
I raised my deep frustration that the Government was blaming the BBC for this decision. It is worth keeping in mind that it took an Act passed by Conservative MPs – Labour voted against it – to force the BBC to have responsibility for this welfare policy. At the time we said that it amounted to a smash and grab on the BBC budget and would cause financial hardship for pensioners. The Government ignored us and carried on regardless. Now we are in the position where a benefit created by Labour in 1999 will not see its twentieth anniversary because of Conservative cuts.
I wanted the Secretary of State to explain to me what he was going to do for the 3,810 households who will lose the free TV licence in Delyn and how the Government is going to plug the gap left in our local economy as £573,405 per year will be taken out of these pensioners pockets.
Let us be clear. The Conservative Party promised everyone at the last General Election that free TV licences for over-75s would remain in place for the duration of this Parliament. We are no more than two years in and they have broken that promise to you.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions came to the House of Commons to deliver the devastating news that poverty was on the rise to 3.7million people and a rise in child poverty in particular.
I raised how some wards in Delyn have a child poverty rate over 40% and how unemployment continues to rise/ The UK Government have not got a grip on this and are presiding over a disastrous work and pensions policy.
Figures released this week demonstrated that 1 in 5 people in Delyn have had to use a foodbank in the last three years. This is disgraceful.
I pointed out to the Secretary of State that that information coincides with Flintshire being one of the first constituencies in the UK to see the roll-out of Universal Credit.
The minister buried his head in the sand and refused to accept that the rise in poverty was in any way linked to the bungled implementation of Universal Credit.
Under this UK Government we have seen child poverty, after housing costs, rise to 40% in some areas in Delyn and unemployment increase for four months in a row. The contempt this government shows towards us in North Wales is utterly exasperating.