The deputy leader of Northumberland’s Labour Group says it’s quite clear the government has no idea what families are going through to get through the pandemic.
Scott Dickinson, who is also shadow cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The government has clearly got its priorities wrong in its efforts to try and support people through this pandemic. Its inability make a decision about Universal Credit leaves families wondering how they are going to feed their children over the coming weeks and months.
“Many more people are claiming Universal Credit and they are under tremendous pressure just trying to stay afloat. It’s disappointing that the Conservative Government refused to vote with Labour to provide families with certainty and secure our economy. But they can still do the right thing and drop their plans to cut Universal Credit.
“The government isn’t just incompetent, it has the wrong priorities. It wasted £22bn of taxpayers’ money on a testing system that doesn’t work and spent billions on contracts to Tory donors – but now can’t find the money to support families. Dominic Cummings’ £40,000 pay rise alone would have spared 40 families this brutal cut for an entire year.
“The government’s chronic mismanagement of the pandemic has caused Britain to suffer the worst recession of any major economy. Now it is trying to make low income families pay as a result of their incompetence.
“We hear the Prime Minster saying the government is wrapping its arms around the people of Britain. This phrase is being made in such a glib way and doesn’t not in any way, shape or form reflect what is going on.
“Millions of families are relying on this lifeline as we come through this crisis, especially as they face increased costs associated with the pandemic. Now is the time for more support, not cuts.
“By delaying a final decision on whether the cut will go ahead, the government is adding to stress and uncertainty for low income families at an already extremely difficult time. The Tories need to put families first and cancel the cut.
“This government doesn’t understand what families need. Whether on exams, free school meals, access to remote learning or childcare, families are not a priority for this government.
“It’s time the government listened properly and responded to the genuine need families find themselves in through no fault of their own.”