Hugo FEARNLEY [Lab.] (pictured above), whose aim it is to achieve the Nomination (to be decided on Saturday 7th April 2018) as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the constituency of Scarborough & Whitby on behalf of the Labour Party, has invited the North Yorks Enquirer to publish his Open Letter to the incumbent, Robert GOODWILL MP [Con.].
Open Letter to Robert Goodwill MP
22nd March 2018
Dear Mr Goodwill,
Re: Debate and vote on Universal Credit, particularly Free School Lunches and Milk, and School and Early Years Finance (Amendments Relating to Universal Credit) (England) Regulations 2018 (S.I., 2018, No.148), dated 6 February.
As I understand it, in relation to the above mentioned motion that went before the commons on 13th March 2018, you along with Conservative and DUP members voted in support of this and the other 3 motions on Universal Credit before the house at that time.
As you are no doubt aware, this action by the government is likely to deny a great number of children from some of the poorest and most vulnerable backgrounds access to a much needed hot meal at school.
According to the Children’s Society around 14,200 school children will be affected in North Yorkshire, many of whom will be right here in your constituency, including in Scarborough the low pay capital of the country.
As I am sure you are aware, there has been widespread disappointment and anger at this move, not least because it comes at a time when the Chancellor of the Exchequer is proudly proclaiming there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ in relation to the Tory austerity program. A program, might I remind you, that originally promised a budget surplus by 2015 and has consistently failed to deliver.
As I understand it, the above mentioned motion and subsequent vote did not apply to families in Northern Ireland. Whilst I am grateful that school children in Northern Ireland will not miss out, I fear that the decision was taken for purely political reasons i.e. to appease the DUP who are propping up this zombie government. This is clearly setting a dangerous precedent in terms of reinforcing an asymmetrical relationship between the majority and minority partners in this ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement.
To many observers it appears the Tories simply ‘supply’ whatever the DUP demand and in turn we, the public, lose all ‘confidence’ in the government to legislate fairly.
At a time when your party’s government is giving away tax breaks to the wealthy and failing to adequately tackle aggressive tax avoidance and evasion, which often utilises our own overseas crown dependencies, I feel it is incumbent on you to re-examine your priorities.
Ours is a constituency where the cost of living crisis is felt by so many, who under austerity have seen their wages stagnate and work become insecure, whilst housing costs rise and the weekly shop becomes more expensive. I’m sure most reasonable people would expect the state to help children in families with only £7400 per year in earned income to be properly fed at school. Therefore I would urge you and your backbench colleagues to reconsider your position and lobby the government to overturn this cruel and
punitive measure, which takes food from the mouths of those that need it most.