Most of us are aware of the £20 cut to Universal Credit (a temporary increase, more on that later). Some of us may even have seen our MP Bob Seely’s cack-handed defence of it on BBC2’s Newsnight.

The facts are that 11,822 people need to claim Universal Credit on the Island, 43 per cent are in work.

The benefits system has long been used to subsidise the wages of low-paid jobs, so that we can buy two lettuces for £1 and t-shirts for a fiver. It’s not a great way to run an economy, but it is where we are.

So for Bob to use the tired mantra “ it was only temporary and the government cannot afford it” is not only disingenuous, but economically illiterate.

Government finances are not like household finances.

Households tend not to own their own bank, but governments can borrow over a period of 50 to 100 years, largely from the bank they own if they wish. Households can’t.

The job of government is to spend when times are bad and then not spend as much when times are good.

You’d have to have pretty rose-tinted specs to say times were good at the moment.

As of this week, the removal of the £20 uplift represents a £12 million reduction in spending for the Isle of Wight’s economy.

This will place further stress on small businesses, but also council finances as council tax defaults will no doubt rise.

Leaving a bigger hole in the council coffers, at a time when it is already facing a further £1.5m in social care funding as well as £3million a year savings to make a balanced budget.

So the £20 reduction doesn’t just penalise those that are in receipt of it, it punishes the Isle of Wight as a whole.

But back to the £20 uplift being temporary.

Many things over time have been temporary: income tax, the Eiffel Tower, the 70mph speed limit on motorways, the London Eye and Gareth Southgate was originally the temporary England manager.

So it isn’t “law” that a temporary change can’t be permanent when a situation changes.

Over the last three weeks, we have seen how much that situation has changed, queues for fuel, empty shelves and the near doubling of utility bills for many households.

Those in receipt of benefits are often accused of poor money management and spending on the wrong things, yet they aren't offered the luxury of claiming the cost of the County Press back on expenses (as well as the milk to go in your tea while you read it Bob.).

An MPs salary is £82k pa. More than 2.5 times the average UK income, yet Bob’s colleague Peter Bottomley MP said " it's grim" trying to cope on such an income for many MPs.

Maybe they need the same lecture on money management and spending on the wrong things that those on universal credit get.

Most people don't have a problem with people being rich, they just don't think people in one of the richest and advanced countries in the world should be poor.

So rather than sitting in front of a log fire, maybe Bob could do something useful for the Isle of Wight and vote against his government on the topics he claims to care most about.

Either that or just be honest and start his next appearance on Newsnight with “let them eat cake”.

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