Work and pensions secretary Esther McVey just sank to a new low. The damage she’s wrought through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for millions of sick and disabled people is bad enough. But now, she’s insulted women whose lives have been devastated by Universal Credit.
For some women, prostitution has seemed like the only option. And McVey’s ‘advice’ for them was sickening.
Labour MP Frank Field asked McVey about issues with Universal Credit in his Birkenhead constituency. He explained that things were so bad under Universal Credit that:
He asked McVey to visit Birkenhead to meet with police and women’s organisations to deal with:
women’s security being pushed into this position.
Birkenhead MP Frank Field yesterday said that Universal Credit is forcing women in his constituency into prostitution for the first time. DWP Sec @EstherMcVey1 tells them to visit a "job coach" as "there are other jobs on offer" pic.twitter.com/8BR8Ti8UBm
— Sarah (@ScouseGirlMedia) October 16, 2018
McVey’s response? Not an ounce of empathy. Not a single shred of recognition for these women. She suggested they seek help from work coaches and charities, and then went on to say:
In the meantime, I might add that perhaps he could tell these ladies, and the work coaches can, that now we’ve got record job vacancies – 830,000 job vacancies – and perhaps there are other jobs on offer.
This is Tory Britain
Perhaps McVey should watch the heartbreaking scene in Ken Loach’s film I, Daniel Blake to realise that prostitution isn’t a job ‘choice’. Like Katie in Loach’s film, too many women run out of choices. Faced with benefit sanctions, or working on a zero-hours contract and waiting up to five weeks for a Universal Credit payment, many women (and some men) may feel that they have no other choice. When they’ve sold all their possessions, their body may be the last thing to sell just to feed their kids.
And Loach didn’t include the brutality, rape, and humiliation which is normal for many survivors of prostitution.
McVey has gone a step too far this time. She and her vile government need to go.
– Support The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.
Featured image via YouTube- UK Parliament
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.