LISTEN: Shadow minister admits Labour ‘double standards’ over phone call charges

Posted On: 
12th October 2017

The Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary has admitted Labour has shown “double standards” in criticising Government phone call charges – after it was revealed they use a similar number.

Debbie Abrahams seemed unaware Labour also used a 0345 number
PA Images

Debbie Abrahams admitted the party need to get its "own house in order", after railing against ministers for defending the 55p per minute charges faced by callers to the Universal Credit hotline.

She appeared unaware of her party’s use of a 0345 number when told by LBC, but accepted it was a “valid point” that they too should review costs to those seeking to join Labour.

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The Shadow minister earlier said that for someone to speak to staff at the Government's benefits line on a mobile phone, they would have to pay an average of £3.30, which is “a lot of money”.

However when it was pointed out that the party may be being hypocritical, she responded:  "I think you make a very valid point. I had no idea about this and yes, we need to get our own house in order as well."

When further pressed on the issue, she added: "I agree with you. So can we move on?"

Ms Abrahams’ comments come a day after Jeremy Corbyn devoted his Prime Minister’s Questions spot to calling for a halt to the roll-out of the Universal Credit system.

The Labour leader branded the costs accrued as absurd and called on the Prime Minister to “show some humanity”.

"The Prime Minister talks about helping the poorest but the reality is a very, very different story...," he said.

“Absurdly the Universal Credit helpline costs claimants 55p per minute for the privilege of trying to get someone to help them claim what they believe they're entitled to.

Will the PM intervene today, show some humanity and at least make the helpline free?"