Margaret Greenwood MP on her work as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
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/ Margaret Greenwood MP on her work as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
06 Apr 2020
It has been an honour to serve as
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions as a member of Jeremy Corbyn's
shadow cabinet over the last two years. In that time I have sought to hold the
Government to account on the deep cuts it has made to social security which
have caused hardship to thousands of people.
A comprehensive social security
system is a vital component of a civilised society, there to support people
should they become ill, unemployed, bereaved or in need of support for any
other reason. Under successive Conservative governments, our social security
system has been severely eroded through policies such as the two-child limit
and the four-year freeze in working-age benefits.
As a result we have seen an
increase in child poverty and in-work poverty and the government's flagship
social security policy, Universal Credit, has pushed many into debt, rent
arrears and to food banks. Meanwhile, people working in DWP call centres have
reported high levels of stress as they have seen their workloads increase.
The current coronavirus crisis has
shone a light on the failings in our social security system in the most urgent
Over the last month I have worked
hard to bring pressure to bear on the government to respond to this crisis by
ensuring everyone has true social security, calling on them to increase the
level of Statutory Sick Pay and ensure that all workers have a right to claim
it so that anyone who feels unwell is able to stay off work if they need to.
I've also called for support for the self-employed and increased levels of
social security to help people feed themselves and their families.
I would like to thank everyone who
has supported me in this role and all those who have campaigned on social
security issues. People want change and I believe that the current situation
has increased the urgency of this.
I wish my successor, Jonathan
Reynolds, well and I know that he shares my concern to create a social security
system that genuinely protects people from poverty and reflects the
responsibility we all have for one another.