UK Politics

Minister apologises for 'give up pay TV' advice to poor

Tracey Crouch Image copyright ALLSPORT/Getty Images

A sports minister has apologised for suggesting some of her constituents struggling to make ends meet should give up things such as subscription TV.

Tracey Crouch had been talking about the savings some claimants would have to make because of cuts to tax credits.

She told the Spectator that in certain cases some people had not realised "you have to sometimes go without to make ends meet".

Labour criticised her remarks, saying they were offensive to working people.

Ms Crouch later apologised "for causing any offence", and said: "I'm sorry for giving the impression of a lack of understanding of the financial pressures many families faces - nothing could be further from the truth."

'Offensive'

The government plans to cut £4.4bn from tax credits as part of wider plans to save £12bn from the overall welfare bill.

But following a defeat in the House of Lords and amid continued opposition - including from Conservative MPs - to the policy, George Osborne is to announce revised proposals in his Autumn Statement to ease concerns about the impact of the cuts.

Ms Crouch defended the policy, telling the Spectator "I think it's about communication."

She said: "We will be discussing this, and I'm sure that DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) are looking at all of these issues, in great detail.

"But I think at the end of the day one of the kindest things that we can do is try to help people to support themselves and work around their finances.

"Some of my most heartbreaking cases are those that come to me saying that they are struggling and then you go through with them their expenditure and income - I'm not generalising at all, I'm talking about some very individual cases - and actually they just haven't realised some of the savings that they need to make themselves.

"You know it can be… things like paid subscriptions to TVs and you just sit there and you think you have to sometimes go without if you are going to have people make ends meet."

Shadow Treasury minister Rebecca Long-Bailey said the minister's comments were "outrageous", "offensive" and showed the Conservatives were "out of touch".

"Losing £1,300 a year isn't about cutting back on luxuries, it's about families being able to pay the bills," she said.

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