Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, has condemned comments made by Tory Minister, Rachel MacLean MP, that people struggling with the cost of living crisis should work more hours or get a ‘better’ job. The Safeguarding Minister’s comments have been criticised by Karin Smyth as “out of touch”.
Around 40 per cent of people who claim Universal Credit are in employment and wages have struggled to keep up with surging inflation. The annual growth for total pay was 5.4 per cent in the year leading up to April, according to the Office for National Statistics, but inflation rose by seven per cent in the same period and is set to rise further this year, further cutting pay in real terms.
The Labour Party is continuing to call on the Government to bring in measures to support people through the crisis, such as a windfall tax on oil and gas producers and reversing the rise in National Insurance, rather than suggesting people overwork themselves to make up for real term wage losses caused by the Government.
Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said:
“Time and again the Tories are showing themselves to be out of touch and out of ideas. The latest comments by a Tory Minister are disrespectful to hard working people and just goes to show how detached they are from the reality of the cost of living crisis.
“It is so unjust for the Government to blame people struggling with the cost of living crisis for not working enough. With 40% of people on Universal Credit in employment, the Government is letting people down by not doing enough to tackle low pay and poor terms and conditions. What’s more, millions of people already work multiple jobs or have additional care duties outside of work, particularly for women, creating fewer career development prospects. The Government must close the pension gap for women to create a fairer society.
“I recently held my annual Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair in Bristol South to support local people into work and improve skills in the area. Jobs and skills are important in helping people pursue rewarding and meaningful careers that benefit both individuals and the local economy, but simply working more hours should not be viewed as the solution to the cost of living crisis whilst wages remain low and career prospects limited for many.
“The Government should be doing more to support the creation of British jobs and apprenticeships, but they should also be stepping up their support during this time of crisis. Increasing wages in line with inflation, a windfall tax on oil and gas producers to bring down energy bills, and more support for those who are struggling are all measures the Government must urgently take.”