Politician's advice to 'work more' to afford food under skyrocketing inflation causes firestorm: 'disgraceful'

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Britain’s situation caput suggested group struggling to salary for nutrient during a historical cost-of-living crisis see moving much hours.

Taking questions connected nutrient insecurity Thursday successful nan House of Commons, Therese Coffey, a Conservative, told chap members of Parliament that "one of nan champion ways for group to boost their income is not only to get into activity if they are not successful activity already, but to activity much hours aliases get upskilled to get a higher income."

Britain’s Office of National Statistics reported nutrient ostentation stood astatine 16.8% successful January, and Coffey acknowledged that nan United Kingdom’s ostentation complaint was pushing Britons to their financial limits, calling nan skyrocketing prices "really tough." 

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Therese Coffey, UK Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey speaking during nan National Farmers Union Conference astatine nan ICC, Birmingham, Feb. 22, 2023. (Jacob King/PA Images / Getty Images)


Labour MP Rachael Maskell called Coffey’s proposal that struggling Britons should activity much "out of touch" and "utterly disgraceful." 

Compounding Britain's ostentation problems is simply a nationwide shortage of caller vegetables, starring immoderate stores to limit sales. Coffey pinned nan shortage connected mediocre upwind successful Spain and Morocco, noting that nan U.K. imports billions of pounds of caller fruits and vegetables from overseas but insisting nan proviso concatenation was "highly resilient."  

Coffey came nether occurrence for telling MPs that Britons should "cherish" U.K.-grown nutrient for illustration turnips while tomatoes and cucumber supplies are limited. Shadow Environment Secretary Jim McMahon called her remarks a "slow mobility tractor crash" and an "insult to hardworking farmers." 

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Purchase headdress motion astatine supermarket

Empty shelves successful an ASDA shop Feb. 24, 2023, successful Cardiff, Wales.  (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images / Getty Images)

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British consumers aren’t nan only shoppers being battered by surging nutrient prices and shortages. An ONS study specifications an explosive rise successful power prices, pinch state prices up 129.4% twelvemonth complete twelvemonth and energy prices up 66.7%. 

Less than 4 years ago, nan Tories' early looked agleam aft they won an overwhelming mostly successful nan 2019 wide predetermination nether Boris Johnson’s leadership. Now, nan battered statement led by Rishi Sunak is fighting crises connected aggregate fronts from nan National Health Service to wide business strikes. 

Coffey’s connection adds to nan Conservative Party’s electoral woes arsenic a February YouGov canvass indicated 50% of Britons would ballot for nan Labour Party successful nan adjacent election, compared to conscionable 22% for nan Conservatives.