SNP’s Ian Blackford accused Boris Johnson of focussing his attention on “vanity projects” rather than working on helping the British public recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Prime Minister fiercely rejected the claim, confronting the Scottish MP with a list of measures his party has taken to improve living standards in the UK. Addressing the SNP Westminster leader, Mr Johnson said: “We are investing massively in universal credit, in employment support allowance, in benefits across the board.
“To say nothing of the novel schemes we have introduced such as the coronavirus job retention scheme which is a model the whole world is admiring.
“There is no other country that has put its arms around 11 million workers in the way this Government has, supported jobs, supported incomes across the whole of the UK.
“We’re going to get this country through it and I hope he supports our measures.”
Mr Blackford had challenged the Prime Minister to add an extra £20 in social security support to help families across the UK cope with the economic pressure of the outbreak.
Blackford saw his attack on Boris Johnson shut down
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Mr Johnson insisted the Government is aware of the “tough times ahead” and committed to doing more work to help the British people.
Mr Blackford said: “£20 a week, £20 a week to help families with children. That’s what we’re asking for.
“We’re talking about £20 a week to stop families having to make the choice between paying their bills or feeding the children.
“That’s the harsh reality, Prime Minister. This is a question about helping people survive.”
Blackford challenged Johnson to find an extra £20 a week to help struggling families
The SNP MP added: “This Tory Government has seen a decade of austerity that has driven people into poverty, that has scrapped child poverty targets.
“Rather than reversing the damaging policies that have pushed millions into poverty, the Prime Minister is more interested in finding money to spend on his own vanity project of a luxury VIP plane.
“Is he seriously saying that he wouldn’t find £20 a week to help families who are struggling to survive?”
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The plea came less than a day after the Government was forced to announced a major U-turn following criticism over its decision schools would not give children free meals during the summer months.
Spearheaded by footballer Marcus Rashford, who depended on the scheme himself as a child, the Government announced yesterday they would provide to all-important vouchers throughout the summer holidays.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman announced a new £120million extension to the scheme over the summer holidays.
He said: “The PM welcomed Marcus Rashford’s contribution to the debate around poverty and I said he would be responding as soon as possible.
“Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the PM fully understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer.
“To to reflect this, we will be providing a COVID summer food fund.”