PMQs 18/10/17: Instant Reaction

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By Sub-Editor Eric Kostadinov

Note: views expressed are those of the individual and not representative of TalkPolitics

Labour achieved a huge victory on the morning of todays PMQs as the government announced they would drop phone charges individuals incur when attempting to arrange their Universal Credit. It was only last week when Jeremy Corbyn raised the issue at PMQs and the change in policy from the government was music to his ears. Corbyn’s third question raised the issue and he signalled that the change in policy was as a result of pressure from Labour. May didn’t seem to disagree with this statement, and even conceded that there has been a lot of publicity on Universal Credit in the past week, which has no doubt been aided by Labour’s scrutiny. This week, Corbyn went further and asked May to pause the rollout of Universal Credit altogether, citing many high profile figures, such as John Major, as well as many Tory backbenchers, who agree with the Labour leader. May remained defiant in support of Universal Credit, and said it is a big help in getting people into work.

Corbyn did acknowledge that unemployment had fallen once again, however he questioned May on why real wages are lower now than they were 10 years ago. May gave a strong defence of her parties record in office, listing out policies such as the National Living Wage and Income Tax cuts for the poorest as examples of having an economy that works for all, although she failed to answer the direct question. Corbyn further went on the offensive by explaining how many people still rely on benefits even when they’re in work. Indeed, if people remain on benefits whilst in work then this effects just how good the news is of falling unemployment, as wages are clearly not high enough.

Corbyn ended with a quote from George Osborne, who said that the 2008 financial crash was not Labour’s fault and that the government at the time acted responsibly and correctly. This was significant for Corbyn and undermined May, as she spent a considerable amount of this weeks PMQs attacking the last Labour government for leaving the Conservatives with a sizeable deficit. With a former Tory PM and a former Tory Chancellor both aiding Labour in this weeks PMQs, and with many Tory MPs no longer supporting May over Universal Credit, it could be Jeremy Corbyn answering questions at Prime Ministers Questions before we know it…

N.B. Post-publishing, this piece was subsequently moved to the ‘Be A Voice’ section.

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