AUSTERITY: MP missed some points

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I read Mrs Trevelyan’s column in the Gazette last week, but felt that you may have inadvertently missed some of her points in summarising the ‘end of austerity’ and thought it might be worthwhile pointing out the following: ‘Stability and growth is now paying off’, except for the 4.1million children living in poverty in the UK in 2016-17.

That’s 30 per cent of children, or nine in a classroom of 30. (source CPAG).

More people are indeed in employment, but not all in secure employment.

Zero-hour contracts have grown by more than 250 percent since 2012, with 901,000 workers currently employed on this contract type, up from 252,000.

Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, is currently visiting the UK, and during his visit to the UK’s largest food bank in Newcastle, praised the foodbank’s success in distributing hundreds of food parcels every week to people in need, but said that it should be the Government that ensures that such a safety net exists.

Families in the UK (reported by the Trussel Trust) in the year to March 2018, received 1,332,952 three-day emergency food supplies – a 13 per cent increase on last year.

Prior to the Beast from the East shredding Northumberland’s roads, there were 58,571 defects identified in 2016-17 and 58,240 in 2017-18 (source NCC) However, as the council’s core funding from central government has been reduced from £90.5million in 2013/14 to a planned funding of £10.3million by 2020, so there may be a little less to spend on road maintenance.

I am aware that the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, in his budget speech claimed ‘a turning point in our nation’s recovery from Labour’s Great Recession’, but it wasn’t really, was it? The last time I looked, it was a global recession and had something to do with banking, didn’t it?

Although, for some reason, Mrs Trevelyan did not mention Brexit in the article, despite her membership of the ‘Hard Brexit’ supporting European Research Group, we’ll just have to wait and see how the ‘growing and stable economy’ fares after the dust settles.

J Homer,

Rothbury