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JEREMY CORBYN sparked fury on the Tory benches in the Commons yesterday when he accused the government of labelling disabled people “scroungers” and creating a “hostile environment” for those on benefits.
The Labour leader focused on the welfare system during Prime Minister’s Questions, urging PM Theresa May to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit.
Ms May called the allegations of mistreatment of disabled people “outrageous.”
Referencing the recent United Nations report on the government’s welfare policies, Mr Corbyn said Ms May could not admit to the “unpalatable truth.”
He said: “The new Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd seems to have taken a lesson from her and created a hostile environment for those that are claiming benefits.
“One of the government’s policies that is causing the greatest anxiety and poverty is Universal Credit. The UN rapporteur Professor Philip Alston said it was fast falling into universal discredit.”
The opposition leader also pointed out that foodbanks are “not just a photo opportunity for Conservative MPs.”
Mr Corbyn said that whenever a prime minister spoke about difficult decisions, it was “the poorest who lose out in our society.”
He noted that 4.3 million disabled people are now living in poverty and that 50,000 were hit by cuts to employment support allowance last year.
“This government labelled disabled people scroungers, it called those unable to work skivers,” Mr Corbyn said. “This government also created a hostile environment for the Windrush generation.
“When the UN rapporteur said British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by ‘a punitive, mean-spirited and callous approach,’ he couldn't have summed up this contemptible government any better.”
With child poverty, homelessness, destitution and household debt all on the rise, Mr Corbyn asked when the PM would “turn her warm words into action.”
He also called for an end to the benefit freeze, the bedroom tax and the two-child cap on child benefit.
Ms May responded by claiming that her government had helped the economy and employment to grow and had given the NHS the “biggest cash boost” in history.
She sneered: “I’ll tell him when the poorest lose out – it’s when a Labour government comes in.”
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