Andrea Leadsom clashes with McDonnell during debate
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Andrea Leadsom was joined by John McDonnell, Lib Dem Layla Moran and columnist Polly Toynbee during a tense episode of Cross Questions on LBC. Ms Leadsom was attacked for supporting the Conservative Party’s cut of the temporary £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift with Ms Toynbee hitting a nerve when she addressed the negative impact it would have on early years development – referring to a report led by Ms Leadsom. The Conservative was left taking on the entire panel who was sternly against her as she accused Mr McDonnell of trivialising the debate during an angry attack.
The early year’s review – The best start for life: a vision for the 1,001 critical days – was led by Ms Leadsom which explains the ways healthcare providers and parents can maximise the development of the young.
Digitising health records, local support hubs and helping people get into work are among some of the recommendations in the report.
But columnist Polly Toynbee hit a nerve with Ms Leadsom after she suggested the Universal Credit cut went against her report as poorer families would not have the financial means to best look after their children.
Ms Leadsom said: “Polly you raised the issue of my early year’s review, the issue for so many infants, parental strife, parental breakdown, substance abuse, poor mental health issues, parents who are too young…”
Mr McDonnell interrupted and accused Ms Leadsom of adding more stress to those families by taking away their money as living costs are set to skyrocket.
Ms Leadsom ignored the interjection and said it was “facile” to suggest poor families make bad parents and said many more factors were at play.
The LBC panel cringed and began shouting at Ms Leadsom to say none of them was suggesting with Mr McDonnell saying parents may not have the ability to feed or clothe their children.
Mr McDonnell said the cut in Universal Credit will harm the diet of children and pregnant women which would disrupt the child’s development.
BBC Breakfast: Dan grills James Cleverly over Universal Credit
An exasperated Ms Leadsom let out a huge sigh and said the panel were oversimplifying the topic before saying she was “offended”.
She continued: “I am offended by the trivial quality of your argument, we could have a proper discussion about this but you are just ranting about a £20 cut.”
Later on, Ms Leadsom pointed out if the cut was reversed there would be a £5billion black hole that needed to be filled.
On October 6, the temporary Universal Credit uplift of £20-a-week will be scrapped despite calls to keep it in place for the poorest families.
In Scotland, the SNP have announced a Scottish Child Payment policy which will give £10-a-week to low-income parents for each child they have.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been a staunch critic against the Universal Credit cuts with the child payment scheme seen to be in opposition to the UK Government’s cuts.
Despite this, the policy has been accused of being a “sticking plaster” by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) who say it does not address the deeper issues of poverty.
Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng met with energy suppliers on Monday amid a global gas shortage which is set to send bills skyrocketing.
Ofgem estimates that households will experience a 12 percent increase to their current energy bill amount from October 1, 2022.
This represents a rise of £139 a year to around£1,277 for the average gas and electricity customer in the UK.
A global surge in gas demands as the world returns back to normal after the pandemic has left stockpiles depleted.
The UK’s energy market, which heavily relies on gas to produce electricity in power stations, is feared to see prices skyrocket meaning many utility bills will increase.
There are also fears some small suppliers in the UK may go bust as the energy price cap could stop many from turning any profit.
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