Press Watch 25/10/19

If you have any tears left to shed, prepare yourself now. The heartbreaking truth about Tory Britain was exposed as never before in a House of Commons select committee and today reported today’s Mirror.

A woman, struggling because of the Universal Credit issues, told MPs that an exploitative shop manager offered her £40 of stock in exchange for oral sex after he caught her shoplifting supplies.

‘Ms J’ indicated that she was really struggling to pay her bills and to buy food asked “What could I do? "It was that or have the police called. I just did it. I just kept thinking ‘please don’t call the police’."

The Mirror writes ‘The woman from London was one of a string of anonymous benefit claimants whose journey into “survival sex” is exposed in a harrowing report by MPs’.

Ms J’s evidence reports the shop manager as continuing as follows: “He said afterwards that if I did the same next week he'd let me have forty quid's worth of stock. It seemed like a fortune. In the end, I held out for two weeks."

"I got my [UC] money, and again it was short, and again it was gone on bills before I'd even thought of food. So, I left the baby with next door and went down to the shop. It's been like that for months now."

The MPs were sent testimony of another woman, SM from Stockton-on-Tees, who started “sex working every few days” to pay rent.

A third, Jackie, began drinking and taking amphetamines and “returned to selling sex on the streets after nearly 30 years”.

A fourth woman in Bristol began seeing a “sugar daddy who she was not seeing before”, the MPs heard.

The select committee also heard testimony in person from four women which was so powerful, it prompted ministers to U-turn on their insistence UC did not cause "survival sex".

Ministers had previously argued that there was no "causative link" between their ghastly and punitive benefits system and women being driven into sex work.

The tories govern on the back of exploitation and human misery and the select committee has allowed us a glimpse into the truth which hides too often behind the curtains of increasingly wretched conditions and humiliation which the poor (and particularly women) have to endure.

Press Watch is a look at the day's news by Labour MPs.

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