Those who are having trouble affording food may want to consider working additional hours, according to a senior Tory minister who makes £156,000 annually and recently received a pay raise.
Therese Coffey stated inflation is “very terrible at the moment” while speaking from the Commons dispatch box and then launched into a series of wisecracks.
She stated that getting a job if you’re unemployed or working additional hours is “one of the finest strategies” to increase revenues.
No need to worry, the environment secretary had different advice: anyone looking to get a higher salary should always think about “upskilling.”
Labour MP Rachael Maskell was heard saying ‘that’s appalling’ as Ms Coffey replied to her question about York food banks running out of stock.
Speaking after the exchanges, Ms Maskell said: ‘With food prices going up 16.8% over the last year, the Secretary of State said that people needed to work more hours to pay for their food.
‘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.
‘People are going hungry, often limiting themselves to one small meal a day or missing food altogether. It is time her Government supported families in need, not making them work harder for a crust.’
Ms Coffey’s solution to the cost of living crisis came after she warned shortages of some fruits and vegetables could drag on for another month.
Bad weather, transport problems and below par harvests in Africa and Europe have left produce shelves left bare in recent days.
Caps have been placed on how many tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and peppers shoppers can put in their baskets and trolleys.
One shopper who attempted to buy 100 cucumbers was turned away by shop staff.
Ms Coffey told MPs: ‘I am led to believe by my officials after discussion with industry and retailers, we anticipate the situation will last about another two to four weeks.
‘It is important that we try and make sure that we get alternative sourcing options. That is why the department has already been in discussion with the retailers.
‘It is why there will be further discussions led by ministers as well, so that we can try and get over this and try and avoid similar situations in the future.
‘Even if we cannot control the weather it is important that we try and make sure the supply continues to not be frustrated in quite the way it has been due to these unusual weather incidents.’