A British member of Parliament suggested unemployed people get jobs and the employed work longer hours or acquire higher-paying skills to fight food inflation.
Environment Secretary Therese Coffey, a conservative, was grilled in the House of Commons Thursday about higher food prices, according to a BBC report.
Labour Party MP Rachael Maskell informed Coffey food banks in her York constituency were running out of food. Maskell asked what the government was doing “to ensure that no one goes without.”
The environment secretary acknowledged inflation was “really tough at the moment” before noting that compared to the rest of Europe, Britain has “one of the lowest proportions of incomes being spent on food.”
Coffey pointed vulnerable people to a national £842 million Household Support Fund, according to the report.
“We know that one of the best ways for people to boost their income is not only to get into work if they are not in work already, but to work more hours or get upskilled to get a higher income,” she added.
Maskell addressed the discussion with reporters after the parliamentary session, the report noted.
“It is shocking that the environment secretary shifted blame for food poverty onto people because they are on low wages and are poor, expecting them to work even more hours to put food on the table,” said Maskell. “It is time her government supported families in need, not making them work harder for a crust.”
Labour MP, Nadia Whittome reportedly declared the secretary’s comments demonstrated the government was “utterly out of touch with working class people.”
Food prices in the U.K. are at a 45-year high, the BBC reported, noting grocery prices average 16.7 percent higher than last year.
Adding insult to injury is the scarcity of fresh vegetables in British groceries, according to a Fox News report, adding some stores now limit quantities of vegetables shoppers may buy.
Coffey blamed poor weather in Spain and Morocco for fewer fresh vegetables, according to the Fox report. She noted the U.K. imports billions of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables from abroad, insisting the supply chain was “highly resilient.”
She further suggested British people should cherish U.K.-grown produce like turnips as long as tomatoes and cucumber are in short supply.
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