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Jeremy Hunt accused of pushing more people into poverty with Autumn Statement

British prime minister Rishi Sunak congratulates Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt after he delivered his autumn statement to MPs in the House of Commons, London. Picture date: Thursday November 17, 2022. Picture by PA Wire
Alan Jones, PA

British chancellor Jeremy Hunt has been accused of pushing more people into poverty or even onto the streets with measures announced in the Autumn Statement.

Lord Bird, founder of The Big Issue magazine, said austerity was too expensive for the country, warning that balancing the books in the short term means passing debts on to future generations.

He said: "The policies announced will only serve to push even more people into poverty and worse, onto the streets. We break the cycle of poverty and injustice now, not perpetuate it.

"The last austerity destroyed generational opportunity. This country needs to act now and invest in putting a safety net around people to stop them falling into poverty and homelessness.

"Nobody should be having to choose between feeding their children, keeping the house warm or paying the rent.

"We need better-paid, more sustainable jobs, affordable and decent housing, and better rights for renters. By committing to programmes and policies that genuinely work for everyone, we can finally cut the throat of poverty and usher in a new era of shared economic prosperity."

Gary Smith, GMB general secretary, said: "The Tories have crashed the economy but it's working people who are paying the bill.

"The chancellor has decided to double down on the failed politics of austerity, adding to everyone's cost-of-living misery by increasing taxes and cutting money from essential public services.

"NHS workers from nurses and porters to paramedics, who put their lives on the line during the pandemic, are being thanked with a big real-terms pay cut.

"It's clear the government no longer believes in clapping key workers and prefers to stick two fingers up instead.

"This disgraceful Tory Government is out of ideas, out of time and should be out of office."

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