Priti Patel was branded ‘out of touch’ by senior Labour politicians (Picture: BBC) The home secretary has come under fire for saying poverty is no
The home secretary has come under fire for saying poverty is not the government’s fault, despite years of Tory austerity cuts.
Priti Patel denied the government had any responsibility for children being born into destitution, instead blaming councils and locally run public services.
In a clip being widely shared on Twitter, Ms Patel is seen during a visit to Barrow, in Cumbria, where she is told four in 10 children are born into poverty.
Ms Patel told BBC North West: ‘Well it’s not the government though, is it?
‘Everybody says it’s the government as if it’s this bland blob that you can just go and blame.
‘It’s all parts of society and the structures, local authorities have a role to play, education, public services which are locally led and locally run.’
Local councils have faced years of cuts under the government’s austerity measures following the recession.
According to the Local Government Association, in the decade to 2020, local authorities will have faced a reduction of funding from the government of nearly £16 billion.
Last year, the UN reported that 14 million people in the UK are in poverty as a direct result of government austerity.
In particular, the introduction of Universal Credit had caused ‘extreme hardship’ UN Special Rapporteur on poverty and human rights Professor Philip Alston said.
According to his report, of the 14 million people in poverty, 1.5 million were classed as destitute and unable to afford basic essentials.
Priti Patel is completely out of touch. I blame austerity for the rise in poverty and I blame this Tory government for austerity. https://t.co/xbk3iKgNxX
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) November 21, 2019
Poverty is not the fault of government, says Priti Patel with a straight face. In a food bank, in Barrow, where four out of 10 children are in poverty. https://t.co/b89IsQoa7E
— Audrey Gillan (@audreygillan) November 20, 2019
The video of Ms Patel’s interview has since been deleted from the BBC North West twitter account but has been widely shared by other accounts on the social media site, who have slammed the comments.
Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said her words showed Ms Patel ‘is completely out of touch’.
He added: ‘I blame austerity for the rise in poverty and I blame this Tory government for austerity.’
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the claims ‘are yet another example of the Tory Government’s cruelty’.
In a tweet, he said: ‘Local Government has suffered enormously from vicious Tory cuts. Of course we can blame the Tory Government for poverty.’