Gary Neville has slammed Conservatives over the language they use when describing people claiming benefits.
In a heated debate with Edwina Currie about the government’s controversial decision to remove the £20 uplift to Universal Credit, which comes into force today, Neville slammed the way some ministers speak about the issue and said their implication that people are lazy and willing to take government money for nothing was false.
The former footballer turned pundit said:
“It is the way in which this sort of language appears from Conservative ministers for so long – ‘immigrants are all taking our jobs, homeless people are all beggars on the street’
“I trust the population of this country. I work on the theory that people at home aren’t sitting there, lazy.
“To me, the language is always divisive, it’s not helpful, it’s something we’ve seen now over 10 years and previous Tory governments. It’s really dangerous, we’re one team in this country, we’re one group of people.”
His comments came in response to Curries’ argument that there are enough jobs in the country for people not to claim benefits. “What we have to realise is we’ve got something like a million vacancies being advertised in this country,” she said.
“It doesn’t make any kind of sense to pay people to stay at home.
“There’s 30 million people out there who are listening to me as I say, ‘the best benefit is a job’. The economy needs people to get into work.”
What Currie failed to mention, however, is that 40 per cent of Universal Credit recipients are in work, but on wages not enough to live on.
Neville later mocked Currie for suggesting people could train to be a chef in a short space of time.
“You can’t train to be a chef in five minutes by the way,” he told her, but this led her to suggest that you can train to be a kitchen porter.
“For you to say someone should go and be a kitchen porter is just ridiculous!” he replied.
Reacting to the debate, people praised Neville for how he handled the conversation:
It is not the first time Neville has called out the government either. During the Euros he made a dig about leadership as part of his commentary and he has also blamed politicians for “fuelling racism”.
Currie is just the latest Tory politician to get the Neville treatment.