Wayne's world view of work, families, children and Universal Credit
- Credit: Twitter/Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald
The deputy mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has suggested families affected by the cut in Universal Credit should consider “how many children they have”.
Conservative councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, who is also leader of Peterborough City Council, made his comments in a BBC interview.
He was being quizzed during his attendance at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.
Cllr Fitzgerald felt the decrease could give people “the incentive to re-enter the workforce”.
He said: “Finances for many are at critical, but there are other ways you can go and generate some money for your family.
“I think I would be one of the first to say here that families should take responsibility for themselves, the way they live their lives, how many children they have, what they do with their tax, what jobs they have.
“There is a wealth of jobs available here in Peterborough. I could take you to any restaurant, cafe, or bar just a stone’s throw from where we’re standing here.
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“They are really desperate for people.”
Cllr Fitzgerald was appointed as deputy mayor of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority in June.
Mayor Dr Nik Johnson, Labour, said it was a case of local politics “done differently”.
Dr Johnson said at the time: " A successful Combined Authority is one that collaborates across traditional political divides to improve the lives of people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
I said when I became Mayor, I would put the ‘3Cs’ – Compassion, Co-operation and Community – at the heart of everything I do, and today is another step in that direction.”
He added: “One thing which unites all the leaders of the councils which make up the Combined Authority is a passion for the areas they represent, and none more so than Cllr Fitzgerald, who is a staunch and proud champion for Peterborough.
“We will not realise our region’s potential to level up – to reduce inequalities and increase opportunities and quality of life – if we do not all come together to use our combined energies and talents to make it happen.”
Dr Johnson may well be asked to re-consider the appointment.
East Cambs Lib Democrat councillor Simon Harries said of Dr Johnson the appointment of Cllr Fitzgerald was never likely to be easy.
Cllr Harries tweeted: “The mistake all naive progressives make. Be ecumenical with Tories. Never works.
“They take whatever you give and still knife you as soon as they can. Pity dwells not in this cold eye.”
One child every second will be affected by the widely opposed cut to Universal Credit (UC) on average over the next month, a charity has warned.
Save the Children is one of a long line of charities, think tanks, unions and leaders from across the political spectrum hitting out against the removal of the £20-a-week uplift.
The Government has been pressing ahead with the cut despite concerns that hundreds of thousands of people will be plunged into poverty.
From today (Wednesday) no assessments will include the uplift, meaning that from October 13 - a week later - no payments will be received that include the extra money.
The cut will be staggered over 31 days as families receive payments on different dates, Save the Children said.
Just over 3.5 million children in the UK are living in households that receive UC payments, according to Government figures.
This equates to 1.3 children being hit by the cut every second on average over the 31-day period from October 13, Save the Children said.