Tories accuse Labour of 'peddling lies' over pledge to 'wage war' on poverty

20 November 2019, 13:42

John McDonnell's statement has been criticised by Therese Coffey
John McDonnell's statement has been criticised by Therese Coffey. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

The Conservative Party has accused Labour of "peddling lies" over their promise to "wage war" on poverty if Jeremy Corbyn is voted into Downing Street.

Labour also accused the Tories of pulling "large swathes" of people into poverty over their decade of being in power, and

However, the Conservatives responded that their opponents were using "misleading statistics for political gain".

Speaking at the launch of a new report into poverty, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: “Poverty in Britain is now the most visible and widespread it has been in decades.

“This new report shows the Tories have failed to tackle 10 modern scourges of poverty, each becoming more entrenched on their watch.

“The next Labour Government will wage war on poverty in all its forms, eliminating in-work poverty, ending austerity and raising living standards across the country.”

But Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey rebuffed the claims, saying: “Corbyn’s Labour are repeatedly peddling lies and misleading statistics for political gain. This is yet another example in a long list.

The report references food banks, in-work poverty and universal credit
The report references food banks, in-work poverty and universal credit. Picture: PA

“People are better off in work under this Government and average wages have outpaced inflation for the last 20 months in a row.

“Our National Living Wage is giving a pay rise for millions of the lowest earners. We have record employment, with 3.7 million jobs created by the Conservatives.

“In stark contrast, every Labour Government has left office with higher unemployment than when they came in.”

She added: “Corbyn cannot be trusted and the Conservatives will continue to call out Labour lies."

Labour's report, named "Poverty Britain", sets out ten ways in which they say poverty in the UK has risen and living standards have fallen since 2010.

It comes after Labour vowed to eliminate in-work poverty within five years if they are voted into power.

The rise in food bank use, which have given out 65 million meals in the past five years, has also been referenced in the report.

Labour said that they will halve the number of food bank meals needed around the UK within a year of gaining office.

They also cited "stagnant wages under the Tories" as a reason for increasing poverty levels, after the average worker lost more than £6000 over the last nine years due to wage freezes.

The report says half a million more children now live in poverty than ten years ago, as well as in work poverty rising by more than 1.5 million people.

The Labour Party have said they would put the minimum wage up to £10 for those aged 16 and over, while scrapping Universal Credit, along with the benefit cap and the two-child limit for welfare payments.

Labour has also pledged to clamp down on problem debt by capping credit card and overdraft repayments so borrowers never repay more in interest than they originally borrowed.

Plans have already been announced to expand free childcare for those aged two to four and provide universal free school meals for all primary pupils.