Families are suffering as the Tories stick their heads in the sand.
Following the Work and Pensions committee at Westminster, the SNP has slammed the Work and Pensions Secretary for being out-of-touch with the households she is supposed to help, and not having a clue about what is going on in her department.
Despite a raft of comments from experts explaining how the UK welfare system isn’t working, Therese Coffey continued to insist the UK government provided “a robust safety net” and suggested that the answer to the cost-of-living crisis is for people to haggle with their utility suppliers over their standing order.
Representatives from Citizens Advice, the Trussell Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said that the Westminster government hasn’t “grasped the challenge properly” of ensuring there is “effective government action to help households” during the Tory-made cost-of-living crisis, highlighted that 95% of foodbank users are destitute, and low-income single adults will spend over 40% of their income – after housing costs – on energy after April, leaving them with £4 left to spend on everything else.
When SNP MP and committee member Chris Stephens MP asked the Secretary of State about her department’s commitment to publish an evidence-based review of foodbank use, she responded that “she knew there was something we started to do.”
She was also unable to confirm whether an extra costs taskforce would be set up – despite the commitment to do so in the UK government’s National Disability Strategy.
Commenting, Work and Pensions Committee member Chris Stephens MP said:
“The performance from the Work and Pensions Secretary in today’s committee was gobsmacking – and woeful.
“It would appear she doesn’t have a clue what’s going on in her own department and what it has promised, and is so out-of-touch with the people she is tasked with supporting that she suggests they should haggle with their energy supplier.
“Millions up and down the UK are having to choose between heating and eating – and sometimes unable to do both – and the Welfare Secretary continues to stick her head in the sand and act like everything is fine.
“It is not surprising that she was asked in today’s committee if she was going to resign.
“People are suffering because of her incompetence and lack of action.
“Meanwhile in Scotland, we have a welfare system based on dignity and respect and developed by listening to those with lived experiences, and an SNP government doing what it can with its limited powers, including pumping £600m into mitigating the damaging impact of Westminster policies and bringing in brand new benefits to help those on low incomes.
“Imagine what Scotland could do and how many more we could help if we were an independent country with full fiscal powers and weren’t spending money on righting the wrongs of Westminster.”