TEES VALLEY TORY 'CALLS FOR CUT TO OLD AGE PENSIONS AND THE DOLE’ – TOM BLENKINSOP MP

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (20th October 2011) called for a debate in the House of Commons over comments made to a national newspaper by his neighbouring Conservative MP for Stockton South, James Wharton.

Tom said “In an article in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, James Wharton MP explicitly called for a cut in the basic rate of state benefit – used to calculate Old Age Pensions and Job Seekers Allowance – and saying that uprating it by the latest inflation figures will mean – and I quote – as ‘The Bank of England is saying this is a blip and that inflation is going to tumble over the next few months, so if we fix on this figure of 5.2% benefits claimants and pensioners are going to do very well out of it’.”
 
“This is a naked threat from a top Teesside Tory to cut already meagre benefits and pensions.  What Mr Wharton, who has enjoyed a well paid life as a lawyer before entering parliament, means is that a single pensioner on a weekly pension of  £102.15 or a single job seeker who gets a dole payment of £65.45 should not expect any uprating to reflect things like increased fuel bills or VAT increases, as he seems to think they are already living very well.”
 
“Put simply, this is a call for the poor to be made poorer.  I will be seeking to put an urgent question to the Leader of the House of Commons today asking him to hold a debate on these comments and to answer a simple question that needs clearing up – is James Wharton just speaking for himself, or has he exposed the true intent of this coalition Government?”

“Many thousands of pensioners and job seekers on Teesside will be looking for an answer to that simple question.”
 
ENDS

 

 

Note to Editors:  The full quote from James Wharton MP, in an article on yesterday’s inflation figures reads...   

“Another senior government source said that if September’s inflation figure is an ‘anomaly’ it may be possible to calculate the inflation rise differently.  James Wharton, a Conservative MP on the Commons public accounts committee, said the CPI figures were ‘distorted’ and called on the Coalition to find a new measure of inflation for uprating benefits.  “We need to find a measure that takes into account not just a snapshot of inflation for one month, which may be artificially high, but reflects the prices that people are actually paying”, he said.  “The Bank of England is saying this is a blip and that inflation is going to tumble over the next few months, so if we fix on this figure of 5.2 per cent benefits claimants and pensioners are going to do very well out of it.”

The full story can be seen on  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/8834955/Setting-benefits-by-inflation-is-unfair.html