Dominic Raab gives food bank user short shrift after questions about his weekly shop
PUBLISHED: 23:17 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 00:01 23 November 2019
Brexiteer Dominic Raab appeared desperate to end the conversation with a food bank user when she challenged him about the cost of his weekly shop.
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The foreign secretary was at a local hustings when he was approached by a woman who quizzed him about a Tory promise to save low-paid workers money by raising the National Insurance (NI) contribution threshold.
Boris Johnson announced, erroneously, this week that the policy would immediately save workers around £500 a year - a rough figure that Raab's constituent seized on at the event.
She started by asking Raab what his weekly shopping bill was, and the minister said around £150 a week.
The woman pointed out that the Tories' new policy would save him about three weeks' shopping.
"Yes, sure," said Raab. "It's an incremental increase, it's more than any other party's offering for the lowest paid in our society." He added that he'd like to raise it further down the line.
"How are you going to fund it?" asked the woman.
But Raab attempted to cut the woman off, saying he had been at the event for two hours.
"You have, but I just want to understand," pressed the woman. "I'm a food bank user, and I don't think you've really stepped in one. I don't think you've talked to people that are in there."
Raab insisted he had opened food banks in three locations.
"You might have, like, cut the little ties," said the woman. "But when you're talking about £500 I think you're actually being offensive to the people who need to use a food bank, when you're talking about three weeks of your shopping per year."
"Well, you're entitled to your opinion," said Raab.
The promised immediate benefit of £500 a year - which Raab did not correct the woman on - has also been identified by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) as misleading.
The IFS has estimated that in fact the planned NI threshold will only immediately save workers £85 a year, and the threshold would have to rise much higher to bring back a £500 saving.
The Conservatives have said that they want to raise it to the needed threshold "eventually".
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