Politically Speaking by Yvette Cooper MP: Ministers are creating a cost-of-living crisis

Families in our area are facing a triple whammy at the moment.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 12:30 pm
POVERTY CONCERN: Yvette Cooper MP at St Giles Food Share

Prices and bills are going up – especially gas and food bills.

National insurance contributions are going up.

And in October the government is going ahead with a huge cut to their universal credit.

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Many care workers, shopworkers, nurses, warehouse staff and other key workers who kept us all going through the Covid crisis are going to lose over a thousand pounds a year.

This isn’t just unfair, it is a complete betrayal of the people everyone clapped during Covid. The government needs to urgently think again.

Ministers are creating a cost of living


Working parents are going to be especially squeezed.

Shockingly, nearly half of all families with children in the Wakefield District are going to lose over a thousand pounds a year from the universal credit cut alone.

It’s been predicted that around a third may fall into debt as a result.

That means real hardship and hunger for many families who have already been struggling to cope.

I’ve spoken to many local families who are incredibly worried – many of them will lose £85 a month in universal credit next month, and they say that makes the difference of putting food on the table or money in the meter or dealing with a household emergency.

Once their energy bills go up too, many just don’t know how on earth they are going to make ends meet.

Local church groups, food banks and anti-poverty campaigners have also contacted me to say how worried they are that more children will go hungry this autumn.

How can the government allow that to happen for children in Britain in the 21st century? It is just wrong.

This will hit our local economy too.

Local shops in the Five Towns are likely to lose over £10 million pounds in customer spending as a result of government policies, just at a time when our town centres are still recovering from the pandemic.

Conservative ministers are completely out of touch on this.

They claim it won’t increase poverty because people can get jobs or work longer hours – but many people on universal credit are already in work and working all the hours God sends.

Nor do they seem to have any clue that it is the very low paid workers who had to keep working all the way through the pandemic to get us through it who are going to be hardest hit.

They also say the money isn’t needed because it was just temporary.

But the price rises families face aren’t temporary, they are getting worse.

Nor are the debts people have run up during Covid which still have to be paid off.

The number of families in our area receiving universal credit has doubled during the Covid crisis - showing the difficulties people have


The government is hitting low paid workers while letting the wealthiest people in the country avoid paying more. That’s wrong.

There’s still time for the government to change their mind on universal credit.

They should listen to local families and reverse their plans before it is too late.