Prime minister Boris Johnson has been accused of ‘chuntering’ during an important question on child poverty rates in the UK during Prime Minister’s Questions.
Johnson was asked by the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, if he was aware of the rising number of children in poverty across the country when he began mumbling.
‘The real cause for concern is… The prime minister is chuntering – he may want to listen,’ Sir Keir said after noticing the prime minister.
Sir Keir went on to ask what the government was doing to stem poverty rates in the UK after a damning report by the Social Mobility Commission – a public body set up to monitor deprivation – expected the number of children facing hardship to increase by 2022.
‘A report last week from the government’s Social Mobility Commission concluded that there are now 600,000 more children living in relative poverty than in 2012,’ he asked.
‘The report went on to say child poverty rates are projected to increase to 5.2 million by 2022.’
He said the estimates were made before the epidemic, asking the Johnson: ‘What is he [the prime minster] going to do to prevent it?’
Johnson replied: ‘The right honourable gentleman is talking about an anticipated rise rather than a rise that has actually taken place.’
He accused the opposition leader skewing the figures, arguing that overall poverty has reduced.
‘I can tell him that of course we are concerned… Of course this government is deeply concerned about the impact of coronavirus on the UK economy.’