On 6 October, footage emerged of secretary of state for work and pensions Thérèse Coffey singing ‘The Time of My Life’ to Tory party conference delegates. Coffey performed her enthusiastic rendition of the Dirty Dancing hit just an hour after the government’s £20 cut to universal credit came into effect.
Many took to Twitter to express their disgust at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) chief’s carefree karaoke having overseen a cut which is predicted to plunge 840,000 more people into poverty, including 290,000 children.
Having the time of her life
Sharing a clip of the unfortunate footage, Politics Home reporter John Johnson tweeted:
DWP Secretary Therese Coffey singing ‘I’m having the time of my life’ at Tory conference just an hour after the £20 Universal Cut came into force. pic.twitter.com/lspuFKGs4Q
— John Johnston (@johnjohnstonmi) October 6, 2021
Expressing her ‘disgust’ at Coffey’s conduct, Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana tweeted:
While 6 million families went to bed last night in fear of the £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit, @ThereseCoffey, the woman overseeing the cut, was out singing "I've had the time of my life" at the Conservative Party conference. Disgusting.pic.twitter.com/t1lQhYX0ad
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) October 6, 2021
This is the biggest overnight cut to welfare Britain has seen. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, it will take £1,040 from around 5.5 million households across Britain each year. Highlighting this, Hertsmere Borough councillor for Potters Bar Chris Myers shared:
At the very moment millions of people, most in work or unable to work, are losing over a grand from their income, Therese Coffey, The Secretary of State responsible is ‘having the time of her life’. #Outoftuneoutoftouch #ToryPartyConference #UniversalCredit https://t.co/oiXU9IiyXU
— Cllr Chris Myers 🌹🏳️🌈 (@CJMyers1977) October 6, 2021
One Twitter user shared:
But at least Therese Coffey is having the time of her life 🤬 https://t.co/LWx1q6AvWX
— Diane D 1959 🕷#50sWomen (@deasy_diane) October 6, 2021
Calling the DWP chief’s carefree demeanour having cut benefits for millions of Brits ‘unforgivable’, trade union activist Jack Meredith tweeted:
— Jack Meredith (He/Him/His) ✊🌹🐝🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈 (@VerySocialLeft) October 6, 2021
Taking Coffey’s rambunctious rendition of the Dirty Dancing hit as a grim reflection of Tory party culture, Brendan May tweeted:
Therese Coffey singing ‘I’ve had the time of my life’ at the #CPC21 just as the benefits cut comes into force is a new low; the footage a reminder the the Tory Party is a culture free ideological crack den of unsurpassed grimness and vacuity. #ToryBritain pic.twitter.com/RDjCXXHKAP
— Brendan May (@bmay) October 6, 2021
Another Twitter user shared:
As they slash #UniversalCredit for millions of vulnerable people Welfare Secretary Therese Coffey is belting out 'I'm having the time of my life' at the tory conference, they are the most grotesque people ever to govern this nation, beyond sickening..
— Loz Argyle ⚓ (@ArgyleLoz) October 6, 2021
The £20-a-week cut to universal credit will leave most claimants surviving off a meagre £59 per week. Comparing this with Coffey’s extravagant expenses, one Twitter user shared:
Member of Parliament for Suffolk Coastal Teresa Coffey. Has claimed more than £201,000 in parliamentary expenses between 2019 and 2020. "While having the time of her Life" she cut the Universal Credit uplift of £20 to millions of people.
— Patricia and Kira 💎🐶😷 (@patricia_hamill) October 7, 2021
GOV2.UK campaigner Lloyd Hardy tweeted:
Therese Coffey gets £25 a night food allowance when she stays outside of her constituency. You buy her food while she takes your £20/week from you
Do you get it yet? They don't care about you pic.twitter.com/sbqi4ZrGDz
— Lloyd🛡️Hardy (@LloydHardy) October 7, 2021
More cuts and inflation
In September, the Legatum Institute thinktank predicted that the £20-a-week cut to universal credit could plunge 840,000 more people into poverty, including 290,000 children. Some 5.8 million people currently claim universal credit. Nearly 40% of universal credit claimants are currently employed.
Ahead of the cut, Resolution Foundation chief executive Torsten Bell explained the devastating impact it will have on millions of households in England, Scotland and Wales. He tweeted:
Whatever this is, it’s not building back better.
— Torsten Bell (@TorstenBell) October 5, 2021
While the government has withdrawn the universal credit uplift, the cost of living continues to increase. Indeed, food and fuel prices, housing costs and energy bills are set to rise dramatically. Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome shared:
Energy bills are set to soar by hundreds of pounds next year.
Meanwhile, Universal Credit has been cut by £20 a week, National Insurance contributions are up and council tax is likely to rise.
This isn't just a winter of discontent – it's years of misery under this government.
— Nadia Whittome MP (@NadiaWhittomeMP) October 7, 2021
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has forecast that the cut will leave 1 in 3 families living in poverty. Underlining the devastating human cost of the cut, Sultana tweeted:
If anyone says politics doesn't matter, tell them about Sophie, a single mum from Coventry, and the cruelty of the Tories' cut to Universal Credit:
“I’m terrified. How am I going to feed my child this winter? How am I going to cope? I can’t stop crying."https://t.co/1tcLqrdBZF
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) October 6, 2021
The government’s deliberate cut to universal credit at a time in which the poorest and most vulnerable in society need more support than ever is nothing short of inhumane.
Featured image via @johnjohnsonmi/Twitter
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