Easington MP Grahame Morris advocated for the millions excluded from Government-funded support during this afternoon’s Opposition Day debate on supporting businesses and individuals during the pandemic, arguing that the country’s ability to support families through the pandemic was ‘fundamentally weak at the very outset.’
He cited a report by The Money Charity which found that, at the outset of the pandemic, ten million households in Britain had no savings, whilst another three million had savings of less than £1,500.
He described the plight of the ‘over 3 million excluded who have found themselves unable to claim any Government funded support intended to relieve the consequences of Covid. Among these self-employed groups are taxi driers, driving instructors, entertainers, performers, small brewers, freelances, and many in the hospitality and catering trades.’
The Trades Union Congress has also found that households owe on average £15,385 to credit card firms, banks and other lenders.
Public spending cuts over the last decade have led to higher costs for families, at a time when wages have either stagnated or been cut in real terms.
Mr Morris also noted the many examples of unscrupulous employment practices throughout the pandemic. He specifically mentioned the ongoing dispute between Unite the union and French-owned bus company RATP who are ‘using Covid as a smokescreen to implement pay policies that could see some bus strivers lose up to £2,500 per year.’
He argued for the consolidation of the £20 Universal Credit uplift, which Unite is also backing.
Mr Morris concluded, ‘Despite the speeches from honourable Members on the Government benches, the Government have created an economy which does not make work pay for all. We have endemic in-work poverty, an economy with systematic child poverty, an economy which cannot house and feed all of our people.’