"Perhaps we should issue government ministers with a map of the country" - Julie Elliott

Julie ElliottResponding to Treasury Minister Chloe Smith’s comments that Sunderland was “somewhere near” Bolton, Labour’s MP for Sunderland Central, Julie Elliott said:

"Chloe Smith's comment underlines what has become all too clear; the Tories have no understanding of the North of England. 

“This latest gaffe comes hot on the heels of David Cameron's assertion that North Tyneside was near Aberdeen and his expression of delight at being in the North East when he was actually standing in Yorkshire. Perhaps we should issue government ministers with a map of the country so they can at least have some vague knowledge about the areas being hit the hardest by their reckless policies."

ENDS

Notes to Editors: 

Chloe Smith MP, Economic Secretary for the Treasury in a response to a question from Bolton North East MP, David Crausby in the House of Commons yesterday: 

Mr David Crausby (Bolton North East): Last week a young woman constituent employed locally by the Stroke Association complained to me that as a result of the association’s funding being cut, her hours were being reduced from 28 to 20, so she loses eight hours’ pay and tax credits as well. What advice can the Minister give my constituent other than to stop work and go on benefits?

Miss Smith: I would be sure that the hon. Gentlemen’s constituent in that case took a clear look around at the opportunities available throughout the economy. I refer him to my previous response, which is that vacancies were up in the three months to January 2012. There are jobs out there: hon. Members need only to hear, for example, this morning’s announcement from Nissan—somewhere near the hon. Gentleman’s constituency—to know that there is work available.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120306/debtext/120306-0001.htm#12030632000006 Treasury Questions, Tuesday 6 March 2012