The Prime Minister also responded to a series of questions from Starmer by asking him about the attitude of some labor councils to the reopening of schools, which prompted the leader of the Labor party to suggest at one point that the couple could change places.
Beginning with a reference to the success of the Rashford campaign, Starmer said that he had hosted “the Prime Minister’s last u-turn on free school meals – it was the right thing to do.”
Citing a report last week from the government’s social mobility commission, Starmer said 600,000 more children were living in relative poverty than in 2012, with a projected total of 5.2 million by 2022. He said asked, “What does the Prime Minister say caused this?”
On the flip, Johnson said, “I am very pleased that we can deliver a package of Covid summer food to some of the poorest families in this country, and that is exactly the right thing to do. ”
The Prime Minister said that Starmer was “absolutely wrong” about child poverty, saying that absolute and relative poverty had decreased.
The Prime Minister seemed uncertain on certain aspects of the report of the Social Mobility Committee. When Starmer told him that he also expected even worse results due to the impact of Covid-19, Johnson appeared to believe that the figure of 600,000 was also a forecast, saying “a new concept is being introduced in our deliberations ”.
“I am sure the Prime Minister has read the report,” said the Labor leader, laughing at some of the MPs. “The Prime Minister obviously did not have the first idea of what the Social Mobility Committee report actually said last week – a government agency. ”
Citing the job protection scheme on leave as an example of how ministers protected the economy, the Prime Minister said: “We intend to ensure that we minimize the impact of coronavirus on children the poorest in this country. ”
The two men also clashed over the funding of the councils. Starmer cited predictions of a £ 10 billion shortfall in local government funding due to the coronavirus, and quoted a letter to the Conservative-led government of Lancashire County Council saying that additional funding £ 3.2 billion for advice would barely cover the costs associated with Covid.
Starmer said, “The Prime Minister just doesn’t understand how critical this is. I spoke with council leaders across the country this week. They face a choice – the Prime Minister must know this – between the reduction of basic services or bankruptcy under section 114 notices.
“Either outcome will harm local communities and prevent the reopening of local services. This will increase poverty, which the Prime Minister says he does not intend to do. Will the Prime Minister take responsibility and do something?
Johnson responded by saying that he had described additional funding and was “very proud” of it and the work of local councils.