Priti Patel has come under fire after suggesting that poverty ‘isn’t the government’s fault’.
Asked about the fact that four in 10 children in parts of Barrow in Cumbria are born into poverty, the Home Secretary blamed local government and services.
Ms Patel made the comments on a visit to Barrow and Furness, where Labour won by a majority of just 209 in the 2017 general election - making it a key target for the Conservatives.
“Well it’s appalling,” she told BBC North West Tonight.
“It’s not the Government though is it? Everybody just says it’s the Government as if it’s this sort of like bland blob that you know, you can just go and blame.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel tells @NinaWarhurst that high levels of poverty can't be blamed solely on the government. She was visiting Barrow-in-Furness where, according to @CumbriaCC , central wards of the town are some of the most deprived in the country. pic.twitter.com/XgV9cRThGX
— BBC North West (@BBCNWT) November 21, 2019
Pushed on the issue and whether she was saying that the Government isn’t responsible for poverty, Ms Patel said: “Well, it’s not, because it’s all parts of society and the structures.
“Local authorities have a role to play, education, public services, which are locally led and locally run.”
The comments have sparked a backlash, including by Labour’s Keir Starmer, who branded her “completely out of touch”.
He wrote: “Priti Patel is completely out of touch. I blame austerity for the rise in poverty and I blame this Tory government for austerity.”
Priti Patel's claims in this video are yet another example of the Tory Government’s cruelty.
Local Government has suffered enormously from vicious Tory cuts. Of course we can blame the Tory Government for poverty. https://t.co/QEDcrlI9LD
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) November 20, 2019
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell tweeted: "Priti Patel's claims in this video are yet another example of the Tory Government’s cruelty.
"Local Government has suffered enormously from vicious Tory cuts. Of course we can blame the Tory Government for poverty."
It’s not the first time Priti Patel has come under fire. The Home Secretary recently faced criticism for blocking a rescue operation to bring British orphans home from Syria.