“Then on your much higher MP wage, why are you needing to claim expenses and eat taxpayer subsidised food? Just budget.”

Yet another Tory MP has proven how out of touch his party is, after telling firefighters who are having to use foodbanks during the cost of living crisis, to ‘learn how to budget’.

Brendan Clarke-Smith, the MP for Bassetlaw, infuriated many people on social media by claiming that he does not believe all emergency workers need to turn to the facilities.

Firefighters and fire service control staff across the UK are voting on whether to strike over pay, with the ballot closing on January 30.

It comes after the Fire Brigades Union rejected a 5% pay offer, which it said amounted to a real-terms pay cut. Chief fire officers have said that some staff are having to use foodbanks as inflation soars and the cost of living crisis pushes more people into hardship.

However, Tory MP Clarke-Smith took to Twitter to tell firefighters that they should ‘learn how to budget’.

He tweeted: “I respect the profession, but £32,244 and using a foodbank? Never heard such a ridiculous thing in my life. I earned a lot less than that for most of my teaching career and so do many of my constituents. If true, which is unlikely, I suggest learning how to budget and prioritise.”

His comments drew an immediate backlash, with Professor Danny Blanchflower tweeting in response: “And then there was inflation you clown”.

Another social media user wrote: “Then on your much higher MP wage, why are you needing to claim expenses and eat taxpayer subsidised food? Just budget.”

Others highlighted how Clarke-Smith’s post didn’t account for individual circumstances. One social media user wrote: “It’s disingenuous to ignore the differential costs of living across the country and the different family circumstances.

“Someone trying to raise four kids in central London will absolutely struggle on 32k.”

(Picture credit: David Woolfall: Creative Commons)

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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