Nine of the worst takes on the cost of living crisis

Nine of the worst takes on the cost of living crisis
Tory MP says people can tackle cost of living crisis by getting …

Tory minister Mel Stride sparked outrage this week when he suggested older people struggling with unemployment deliver takeaways.

In an interview with the Times, the work and pensions minister sang the praises of companies such as Deliveroo and encouraged people to get back into work by trundling around delivering pizzas.

As a take about how to deal with the cost of living crisis, it is pretty ridiculous but we are not surprised given the thought leadership that has come from his colleagues over the last couple of years.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Yes, amid rising costs, Tory MPs have suggested a host of ridiculous solutions that all push responsibility on the individual, not the government, from telling people to just get better jobs or suggesting people eat more wheat biscuits - really.

Without further ado, then, we present the worst Tory takes on the cost of living crisis.

1. Struggling people should 'get better paid jobs'

With inflation soaring faster than salaries, and people struggling to pay their increasing bills, one minister piped up with a nonsense take for the ages.

Speaking in a May 2022 interview with Sky News, then safeguarding minister Rachel Maclean suggested that people struggling with the cost of living crisis should simply work for more hours or get better paid jobs.

She said: “Over the long term we need to have a plan to grow the economy and make sure that people are able to protect themselves better.

“Whether that is by taking on more hours or moving to a better paid job and these are long term actions but that's what we're focused on as a government.”

Thanks for that, Rach!

2. 'Buy value brands'

In the same month, an MP suggested people simply buy cheaper food. When asked how people might cut the cost of a roast dinner, for example, George Eustice suggested: “Generally what people find is going for some of the value brands, rather than own-branded products they can actually contain and manage their household budget.”

That should do it!

3. 'Get any job'

In an appearance on BBC Politics North West, Tory MP Katherine Fletcher was called “callous” after suggesting that families who are struggling are “sitting on benefits” and should “get any job”.

When told that there are people in work who are also struggling financially, Fletcher’s response was: “You get any job, you get a better job, you get a career.”

Her comments were criticised by Labour's shadow employment minister, Alison McGovern, who said: “For a Tory MP to suggest people are sitting around on benefits shows we’re being governed by the same old Tories.

“While working families are striving to make ends meet in the face of callous Conservative decisions that are making their lives harder, we have a Tory MP doing nothing more than insult them.”

Oh, and by the way, 37 per cent of Universal Credit claimants are actually working, a further 35 per cent are actively searching for work, and that most of the rest aren’t required to work at all because of illness or other factors.

Oh dear.

4. 'Eat wheat biscuits'

Lee Anderson is perhaps known best for his various bad takes on the cost of living crisis, like suggesting people can cook nutritious meals for 30p.

But one of his worst takes was when Anderson shared a picture of a value pack of ‘wheat biscuits’ cereal from Tesco on Twitter, seemingly in a bid to show how easy it is to eat for cheap during the cost of living crisis.

“Again for the doubters,” he wrote.

“6p each, just chuck on 10p worth of milk. Milk at Tesco £1.65 for 4 pints. Wait for the denial.”

5. 'Look after your personal finances'

Gareth Bacon came out with divisive rhetoric about food bank users in January.

Speaking on Politics Live, when asked to explain reports that working people use the services, he said: "People will say they don't have enough money but... sometimes people will have to look at how they manage their personal finances and there's nothing wrong in that, that is not in anyway a criticism of anyone and it's not patronising to say so."

"People have to look after their personal finances, that's perfectly true," he added.

6. 'Granny annexes'

It sounds like something out of a horror film, but during a parliamentary debate, Jackie Doyle-Price, the Tory MP for Thurrock, said that the government should encourage “people to make better use of their housing asset for the whole of their family”, suggesting the government could “incentivise granny annexes” being built by people to help their children save on housing costs.

What the f**k?

7. 'Ride the bus all day to keep warm'

In an interview with Good Morning Britain when he was still prime minister, Boris Johnson was presented with the story of Elsie, a 77-year-old widowed pensioner, who, to cut down on spending, only eats one meal a day and uses her freedom bus pass to stay on public transport all day just to stay warm and avoid using energy at home.

When asked what more she can cut back on, the Prime Minister responded that he “doesn’t want Elsie to cut back on anything”, before boasting to presenter Susanna Reid about the introduction of 24-hour freedom bus passes.

“Just to remind you, the 24-hour freedom bus pass was something I actually introduced,” he said.

Well that's quite alright then.

8. 'Don't eat cheese sandwiches'

The presenter asked Widdecombe: “What do you say to those viewers who literally can’t afford to pay even for some of the basics – if they’ve gone up the way that cheese sandwich has, with all its ingredients?”

“Well, then you don’t do the cheese sandwich,” Widdecombe replied.

Widdecombe continued: “We’ve been decades now without inflation. We have come to regard it as some sort of given right.”

She also insisted the poorest families “are being helped” during the current crisis.

9. 'Become takeaway drivers'

That brings us to yesterday when Stride suggested older people get jobs delivering takeaways to take advantage of flexible work.

Isn't it nice to know you can trust the people in charge of running our country.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)