In a motion which labelled the policy a ‘political choice’, members of South Tyneside Council urged ministers to recognise the impact of years of government cuts.
They called for the reversal of some of the measures they considered most harmful, including the benefits freeze, two-child limit and benefit cap.
The measure was proposed by Coun Anne Hetherington.
She said; “I’m pleased that as a socialist I get to speak out against social injustice and speak up for the right of citizens for a higher quality of life but I’m also saddened that in one of the richest countries in the world we find an increased number of our citizens living in poverty.”
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According to a report prepared for councillors, up to a fifth of the UK’s population, about 14m people, are thought to be living in poverty.
Of these, 1.5m are believed to be so poor they cannot afford ‘basic essentials’.
The council motion concluded by calling on the Prime Minister change her policies to bring the government back in line with the terms of the Equality Act.
A study last year (2018) by researchers at Cambridge University claimed South Tyneside saw its spending levels slashed by 44 per cent between 2010-17, making it the worst hit by austerity of all the North East’s council and the third worst nationally.
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service