'Here's some numbers even he can understand': Economist blasts Shapps' poverty comments

3 April 2022, 16:56

Economist Jeevun Sandher on the energy crisis

By Tim Dodd

Former Treasury Official Jeevun Sandher hit out at Grant Shapps' comments on poverty, saying the government "cannot simply define away hungry children or freezing pensioners".

It comes after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps claimed "poverty is divided into both absolute and relative, and sometimes the way it's presented can be somewhat misleading to say the least", after Sky's Sophy Ridge put to him that hundreds of thousands more children are being pushed into poverty by the cost-of-living crisis.

Jeevun Sandher, who is an economist at King’s College London, told Natasha Devon: "Relative and absolute poverty, both of them are set to increase in the next year. Absolute poverty will go up by 1.3 million, relative poverty by about 600,000. Now, Grant Shapps doesn't seem to understand those numbers but here are some numbers that even he can understand.

"1 in 3 can't afford to heat their homes properly, 1 in 5 are struggling financially, and 1 in 7 children are going hungry in this country, and that was before Friday's increase in energy prices of 50%."

Natasha Devon addresses the energy crisis.

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Mr Sandher continued: "This government cannot simply define away hungry children or freezing pensioners. This Chancellor chose to let them go hungry and chose to let them go cold.

"They should at the very least take responsibility for that and they should absolutely change their minds."

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