Priti Patel condemned for claiming the Government should not be blamed for poverty

Posted On: 
21st November 2019

Priti Patel has been branded "completely out of touch" after she said the Government should not be blamed for rising poverty in parts of the UK.

Priti Patel said 'people in Westminster' should not be blamed for poverty.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Home Secretary said local councils and schools - which rely on Whitehall for the bulk of their funding - should also shoulder responsibility.

Ms Patel was quizzed on the issue during a visit to Barrow and Firness, which Labour won by just 209 votes at the last election and is one of the Tories' top targets.

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Asked what she thought about the fact that four in 10 children in parts of Barrow are born into poverty, she said: "It's appalling, but it's not just 'people in Westminster', it's not just at a national level, it's at a local level."

The Home Secretary added: "It's not the Government though, is it? Everyone just says 'it's the Government' as if it's this bland blob that you can just go and blame. It's actually all parts of society and the structures. Local authorities have a role to play - education, public services - which are locally-led and locally-run."

Labour pounced on Ms Patel's remarks, pointing out that local councils have suffered from nearly a decade of spending cuts.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell tweeted: "Priti Patel's claims in this video are yet another example of the Tory Government’s cruelty.

"Local Government has suffered enormously from vicious Tory cuts. Of course we can blame the Tory Government for poverty."

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said: "Priti Patel is completely out of touch. I blame austerity for the rise in poverty and I blame this Tory government for austerity."