With such disagreement on statistics between hon. Members on both sides of the House, it would be helpful to refer to an impartial observer from the United Nations who has spent the past two weeks going across the United Kingdom and looking at our levels of poverty and the associated political choices. It is a damning indictment of not just our country but our Government that he concluded:
“The experience of the United Kingdom, especially since 2010, underscores the conclusion that poverty is a political choice. Austerity could easily have spared the poor, if the political will had existed to do so. Resources were available to the Treasury at the last budget that could have transformed the situation of millions of people living in poverty, but the political choice was made to fund tax cuts for the wealthy instead.”
I find that absolutely shocking in this day and age, given that there is so much evidence on this, not just from the likes of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, but in every region and on every street in our country. I live in a relatively affluent constituency, but I have had thousands of constituents come to me suffering from poverty.