Margaret Greenwood MP has called on the government to take action that would make a real difference to the lives of people on low pay.
Speaking in a debate on in-work poverty, the MP for Wirral West said that low-income households are likely to be disproportionately affected by the ongoing cost of living crisis and warned that the government’s decision to increase National Insurance contributions from next month – a move which Labour has opposed – will increase the pressure on working people and businesses even further.
On Wednesday, 23 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver his spring statement to the House of Commons.
It comes as the domestic energy price cap is set to increase by 54% from 1 April for approximately 22 million customers, while some economists have suggested that the inflation rate in the UK could hit 10%.
Margaret Greenwood also highlighted a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) from last year which found that the UK’s poverty rate among working households was at a record high this century. The report also found that in 2019-20 the majority of those living in poverty were in households that had some form of paid work.
The government’s own latest figures show that, of all the working-age adults in poverty, both in the UK and in the North-West, 65% are in working families.
Speaking after the debate, Margaret Greenwood MP said, “It is a matter of real concern that of all the working-age adults in poverty in the North-West, and in the UK, 65% are in working families.
“This totally dispels the Conservative myth that work is the best route out of poverty.
“The government needs to tackle the structural causes of inequality, such as low pay and high living costs.
“There are so many measures that this Conservative government could take at the spring statement that would make a real difference to the lives of people on low pay.
“They should reverse their own cut to Universal Credit of more than £1,000 a year.
“They should also scrap the two-child limit, which the Child Poverty Action Group has called for, and the benefit cap.
“They should also call a halt to the rise in National Insurance.
“The government should initiate a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producers to cut household energy bills by up to £600, as Labour has called for.
“It simply comes down to political will. I have urged the government to take effective action to tackle poverty in the spring statement.”