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The Tories have a habit of announcing policies that are backed by arguments that, in a sentence, quite often can sound reasonable. However, the minute we scratch beneath the surface we see that every policy is soaked in ideology and backed by mistruths that are unrecognisable in the real world. I want to give a few examples.
We have had umpteen debates in this House explaining in great detail why universal credit is not fit for purpose as it stands. Even this month I have had constituents live off nothing but £70. The Chancellor has announced a boost to the work allowance as an answer to these problems, and he expects credit for that, but, again, if we scratch beneath the surface, we find that this boost only reverses half of the cuts that were made in the 2015 Budget.
Secondly, Tories often say that the best way out of poverty is through work. They preach that they were the Government who introduced a “living wage” and they arrogantly pat themselves on the back for raising it in this Budget. Again, if we scratch beneath the surface we discover they have introduced nothing of the sort. They have slightly increased the minimum wage, which still does not meet the cost of living. No amount of rebranding will make anyone forget that. Further, we see nothing in this Budget to address the age discrimination that is entrenched in the minimum wage structure.