The woman in the Question Time audience was quite right and Matthew Hancock’s argument was wrong, along with Conservative Party policy.
The Tories stubbornly refuse to accept the main principle of government borrowing, which is this:
Governments borrow to pay for public services that will continue into the future, therefore it is right that people who benefit from those services at a later time should help pay for them.
It may be that the Tories think this isn’t relevant to them, because they are dismantling public services, meaning there will be nothing for future generations to fund – but that assumes they will be successful in completely asset-stripping the UK, leaving the majority of its citizens with nothing and only a precious few with shares in the privatised companies that remain (along with the People’s Republic of China, of course).
But you won’t hear them say that.
Matthew Hancock is the Conservative minister who told young people to join a “jobs boot camp” or lose their benefits.
One presumes he expects to put this lady’s son onto such a scheme in the near future.
A mother’s heated exchange with a Tory minister took centre stage during Thursday night’s BBC ‘Question Time’, as she castigated David Cameron’s government for “writing off” those with disabilities.
The audience member lambasted Matthew Hancock after prolonged austerity has seen essential services relied upon by her disabled son withdrawn or threatened.
“I have a son with a learning disability. He has no social worker, no care plan,” she said.
“His transport to and from school is threatened, his college place has just been withdrawn.
“I think the reality on the ground for people like us living everyday lives is that austerity is devastating.
“Certainly for my son and young people like him.
“We feel as though he’s been written off by Cameron’s government.”
Hancock, a Cabinet Office minister, attempted to defend the reduction in public services but was quickly drowned out by furious audience members.
As he struggled to respond amid loud heckles from the audience, Hancock said: “If we can’t have a country that lives within its means,” before being interrupted.
Battling against audience reaction, he continued: “It is not ‘flannel’ to want to reduce the deficit. Hold on, if we don’t have a country that can live within its means then we can’t fund those sorts of public services that people like you rely on.”
At which point the woman interjected: “What? So we pay our taxes but our children can’t go to school?”
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