Priti Patel is caught in another controversy after she said that the government is not responsible for poverty in the UK. The Home Secretary attempted to absolve “people in Westminster” from blame over deprivation across the country and instead highlighted the role of local authorities and education services – which receive the bulk of their funding from central government. During her campaign visit to Barrow-in-Furness, in Cumbria, she was challenged that the government was responsible for poverty and the Tories had had almost 10 years to address the issue, she said,
“It’s not the government, though, is it? Everybody just says ‘the government’ as if it is this sort of bland blob that, you know, you can just go and blame.
“Actually, it’s, well, it’s not [the government’s fault], 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.”
Whilst replying to a question about how two in five children in some local areas were born into poverty, she said
“Well it’s appalling, and of course, but everybody – and it’s not just people in Westminster – it’s not just at a national level, it’s at a local level,” she said.
Labour’s candidate for the marginal Barrow and Furness seat, Chris Altree, tweeted: “More than a quarter of children in Barrow are living in poverty and that situation is directly ascribable to benefit cuts that have been imposed by this Conservative government.
“Many people in our communities are working poor and the comments from Priti Patel show just how out of touch the Conservatives are with working people.”
The clip of Patel’s remark was originally posted by the BBC North West Twitter account on Wednesday afternoon, but appeared to have been taken down until it was reposted on Thursday morning.