Tuesday 5 February 2008

Attack poverty, not the poor

Today I issued the following press release:

In a week where new Work & Pensions Secretary James Purnell, welfare reform adviser David Freud and now Housing Minister Caroline Flint have all lined up to threaten the poor, reports on inequality and fuel poverty paint another picture.

John McDonnell MP, Chair of the Labour Representation Committee, said:

"The Government should attack poverty and not the poor. As the fuel poverty report reveals that one in six households is now living in fuel poverty, the Government seems focused on only demonising and punishing the most vulnerable.

"Instead of attacking poverty, the Government's Housing Minister has launcged another attack on the poor. A succession of statements by Purnell, Freud and now Flint demonstrate the Government is cut off from the reality of the poverty and insecurity people face in our community.

"Sanctions and threats already exist within the benefits system, so to threaten to make people homeless is more brutal than anything we've seen since the end of the Poor Law. The new generation of Ministers and advisers appear to be living up to the mantle of Thatcher's children. What next? Will it be the novel idea of the workhouse?"