Newsnight: UK close to ‘civil disobedience’ over cost of living crisis – ‘Acted too late!’
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Mr Lewis said that the country was facing a “genuine catastrophic crisis” with ten million people “potentially” moving into “severe levels of poverty”. The ITV presenter blasted the Government for being “too late” to react to the crisis and warned politicians that they can’t “spend too long” dealing with the crisis.
Mr Lewis started by pointing out that even people who had their debt wiped were still struggling.
He said: “Let’s be plain, it is going to be a very bleak winter.
“You’re talking with some of the debt trackers – 35 percent of people who go in after they’ve had their debt cancelled are still running a negative debt budget.
“So they can’t afford to pay even when everything has been cut by the experts.
“We are getting close to a position of civil disobedience, civil unrest.”
At this point Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark asked Mr Lewis if he meant refusing to pay bills.
She said: “You mean people refusing to pay their bills?”
In response Mr Lewis cited the position of people in Ireland refusing to pay their mortgages arguing that Britain wasn’t “far away” from that position.
Following an exchange on Twitter after the broadcast Mr Lewis acknowledged that during the financial crisis many Irish people couldn’t afford to pay their mortgages but actively refused to pay water charges.
He said: “In Ireland when people refused to pay their mortgages in the past.
“I don’t think we are far away from that position.
“The Government was too late on the cost of living crisis with its previous interventions.
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“The one that came from the Chancellor recently wasn’t too bad.
“But I just give a warning now you cannot spend too long on this.
“We have a genuine catastrophic crisis hitting ten million people potentially moving into severe levels of poverty.
“We haven’t got enough time to deal with this.
“We need to get this dealt with and get it sorted before winter comes.”
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