Deputy Conservative party chair Lee Anderson claims that it is a “myth” that people on Universal Credit are in poverty. The MP for Ashfield made the controversial claim during a common discussion about free school meals.
Mr Anderson, who has sparked controversy in the past with his comments about how parents can feed their children on a very small amount of money, dismissed calls for free school meals to be extended to families on UC. He said: "There is this myth in this country that, if people are on Universal Credit in this country, they are in poverty."
He went on to say that he wanted to “dispel” the myth right now. Mr Anderson appeared to make claims which were not backed up by any proof about how some families on UC had household incomes of “£40,000 a year.”
On a similar theme, Mr Anderson went on to claim families have been abusing food banks and that it is ‘too easy’ for them to blame the cost of living crisis. He used an example of one family he was supporting in his Nottinghamshire constituency of Ashfield.
"I had one particular family I was helping, they were going to a foodbank two or three times a week to get their groceries and then I saw them in McDonald’s two or three times a week. It is all about priorities. If you are really struggling for money and you are going to a foodbank two or three times a week, you shouldn’t be going out for fast food takeaways every week. You shouldn’t be doing that."
He went on to criticise parents who sent their children to school breakfast clubs, believing that they should be getting fed at home instead. Mr Anderson said: "It is far too easy to say there is a cost of living crisis. Yes we know people are struggling, we know food prices are up, we know energy prices are up, we know all this, but you can’t keep throwing taxpayers’ money [at the problem]."