Treasury Secretary Liz Truss tried to outdo Norman Tebbit in the out-of-touch Tory stakes today by lecturing people plunged into poverty by government incompetence.

In an echo of Tebbit’s “get on your bike” outburst at unemployed people, Truss told Universal Credit claimants left penniless by chaos in the scheme’s rollout that they just need to get down the job centre.

“I would encourage people to visit the job centre, go in and get the advice,” she told the BBC’s Daily Politics show after Jeremy Corbyn revealed at PMQs that the Government is charging callers to the Universal Credit helpline up to 55p a minute.

Truss seems to have forgotten that only last week the Government that she is a member of began a massive programme of job centre closures. 

87 job centres are due to be closed over the next seven months – around one in ten of all job centres in the UK. The first four shut their doors last Friday.

The PCS union, which represents job centre staff, has warned: “Hundreds of members will now be at risk of redundancy as a result and the service we provide for claimants will be drastically weakened.”

It means that people left with little or no money by the Government’s botched benefits reform now face shelling out on a premium rate phone call or paying even more for a bus fare to visit a job centre which is further away.

If only things were as easy for people in this country as they seem to be on planet Tory…

  1. Paul Cotterill says:

    And note that Truss saying that she doesn’t know the detail of the charges comes some 12 days after an almost identical car crash Radio 4 appearance, in which her fellow minister Rory Stewart said he’d not been aware of the charge but that it “does not seem to me to be a good thing”. (listen from about 16.30 mins – he says it at about 17.05)

  2. Liz Truss was hopeless in her last ministerial job, should have been sacked permanently from any government position rather being given another one. In any event, Universal Credit is not a panacea for all work incentive initiatives, it is a method of reducing benefit payments by masking the impact of individual benefit reduction measures. Simple.

  3. Even in my local JobCentre, all the phones were taken out three years ago. When I needed help, I was told to go to the CAB.

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