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Suella Braverman was heavily criticised over the cost of living crisis on Thursday's Question Time (Photo: BBC Question Time)
The attorney general was put on the spot over the government’s handling of the cost of living crisis on Thursday’s BBC Question Time, in a clip that makes for toe-curling viewing.
Suella Braverman was listing how Downing Street has accounted for the 30-year high inflation rates in its efforts to help alleviate the crisis, when she claimed some families will be “1,600 better off this year compared to last year because of these cumulative changes”.
The audience laughed at her claim, while Braverman said: “Would I love to do more? Of course I would! But we have to pay for our backlogs.”
Miatta Fahnbulleh, chief executive of the New Economics Foundation, then cut in and pointed out that even when the government’s measures are taken into consideration, families on average are still £1,100 worse off.
She claimed: ″Your numbers are literally made up!”
The crowd began to clap in support, as Fahnbulleh continued: “It doesn’t feel like the government has grasped the scale of the challenge, because if you had, you would have acted by now.
″You talk about the lowest families – the chancellor took £1,000 from those families last year and then in the spring statement we just had there was literally not a single measure that would support families on the lowest incomes in this country.
“And there are things you could do to act, but you’re choosing not to,” the economist said, while the attorney general simply shook her head.
Fahnbulleh pointed out that the government could employ a windfall tax, along with a great homes upgrade to improve insulation over the next three years.
The economist called for a £15bn package to boost benefits too, so would help families which are “at the sharp end of this crisis, which the chancellor has left to languish”.
Fahnbulleh continued to talk to Braverman – who refused to meet her eye – as she said: “People are moving well beyond the choice between heating your home or feeding your kids. People are not doing either.
“The fact you’re not acting I think is unforgivable.”
The government has introduced a number of small measures to address the cost of living crisis including a £200 energy rebate, the cut and freeze to fuel duty, the household support fund – but critics still believe these proposals don’t go far enough.
“When two million people in the richest country are skipping meals because they can’t afford it, the fact you’re not acting, I think, is unforgivable”
Economist @Miatsf accuses the government of not “grasping the scale” of the cost of living crisis. #bbcqtpic.twitter.com/4Tt7TUkZdx
— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) May 12, 2022
The attorney general’s entire Question Time performance went down like a lead balloon, even when the conversation moved away from the cost of living crisis.
She was also criticised for her answers over legal queries on the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is now causing fresh friction between the EU and the UK as Downing Street looks to re-write the agreement.
Have to admire how @SuellaBraverman can manage to keep a straight face while claiming on #bbcqt that it’s “the EU’s application” of the Protocol that leads to checks and barriers in the Irish Sea rather than the text of the Protocol itself.
— George Peretz QC 🇺🇦 (@GeorgePeretzQC) May 12, 2022
It’s not healthy that the #bbcqt audience laugh at the Attorney General on points of law.
— Deborah Meaden 🇺🇦 (@DeborahMeaden) May 12, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.