Louise Ellman MP

PMQs – Absolute Poverty in the UK

Yesterday in Parliament (28 Jan), I asked the Prime Minister a question about the increasing hardship felt by so many. People have told me about their struggles and being left in a financial limbo, in some cases for weeks, while their benefits are being processed.

The Prime Minister failed to answer my question. I asked about absolute poverty, people struggling to survive. His answer referred to “relative poverty” – a measure of inequality.

Mrs Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside) (Lab/Co-op): Absolute poverty up by 300,000, the rise of the working poor and very seriously sick people impoverished while they wait for their benefit—is the Prime Minister proud of this record?

The Prime Minister: I am afraid that the hon. Lady’s statistics are simply wrong. I know Labour does not like to hear this, but the fact is that there are 600,000 fewer people in relative poverty than there were at the election and 300,000 fewer children in relative poverty. Inequality is lower than it was at the election and we can now see 1.75 million more of our fellow countrymen and women in work. Behind all those statistics are people who are able to go out, earn a wage, have a pay packet and support their families. I would have thought the Labour party of all parties would want to support that.