You listening to yourself?! Minister gives car crash interview on Universal Credit cuts

Paul Scully grilled by host on Universal Credit cuts

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Small Business Secretary Paul Scully gave a skittish interview during his appearance on LBC where he was repeatedly called out by host Eddie Mair for tripping up on his own statements amid the Universal Credit cuts. Mr Scully claimed the Government was not actually cutting Universal Credit because they were investing in other sectors but Mr Mair could not believe what he was hearing and said, objectively, the Government had chosen to cut the uplift. Mr Scully squirmed under the dressing down and struggled to get his point across as he appeared nervous during his interview.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £20 a week uplift of Universal Credit in April 2020 to help families during the pandemic. 

Despite always being touted as a temporary measure, many have called for the uplift to remain permanent after it was announced it would be phased out over the Autumn. 

Rebel Tory MPs have also opposed the removal of the uplift with around 60 MPs supporting to keep it. 

In response, the Government has announced more funding for people to retrain and to get into better paid jobs as part of their new programme. 

Paul Scully appeared on LBC to discuss this but struggled to communicate his point succinctly. 

Discussed the Government’s “levelling up” scheme to which Eddie Mair asked if the Government could level up the poorest in society. 

Mr Scully replied: “Well what it means is that we can widen our economic base to increase the opportunity for employment, for better employment for those people outside London and the southeast.”

Mr Mair quipped the £20 uplift cut could mean many people could no longer afford a train ticket to get into work or travel around for potential jobs.

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Mr Scully said the Government was looking at a “holistic” approach focusing on the poorest in society. 

The radio host remarked: “We will be looking at the poorest people by cutting Universal Credit, are you listening to yourself?”

The minister began to flounder and stutter and said Universal Credit was not being cut with Mr Mair exclaiming: “Yes you are!”

The pair began going back and forth about getting people into better paid work with Mr Mair demanding to know whether everyone as part of this new government scheme will get better paid work. 

Mr Scully quoted “trickle-down economics” which astounded Mr Mair.

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The Government has set out plans to make the job market better by investing in apprenticeships, retraining courses and cracking down on unfair employment contracts.

A “name and shame” list will be publically available which will list companies who have been found to have breached minimum wage laws. 

Mr Scully, who helped launch the scheme, said in a statement: 

Business Minister Paul Scully said: “Our minimum wage laws are there to ensure a fair day’s work gets a fair day’s pay – it is unacceptable for any company to come up short.

“All employers, including those on this list, need to pay workers properly.

“This government will continue to protect workers’ rights vigilantly, and employers that short-change workers won’t get off lightly.”

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