Shameless Boris Johnson today declared “there is no alternative” to his benefit cut plans in a grim revival of Margaret Thatcher.
The Prime Minister echoed the phrase used by his predecessor four decades ago as part of his new justification for slashing Universal Credit.
Mr Johnson has insisted the cut is right because taxpayers should not “subsidise” low pay, and the market should catch up with higher wages. 40% of claimants are in work.
The PM has used the same logic about the hard-pressed haulage industry, where he hopes higher wages will lead more people to become truckers to stop shortages in the supermarket.
ITV Political Editor Robert Peston challenged the PM, saying the transition to higher wages would take years while families face a cut and empty shelves this Autumn.
But Mr Johnson said: “In a famous phrase, there is no alternative. There is no alternative.
“The UK has got to, and we can do much, much better by becoming a higher wage, higher productivity economy.
“And, what I think…we’ve got a fantastic supply chain, fantastically clever people work on our logistics, and they will fix all these problems.”
Margaret Thatcher became associated with the phrase ‘There is no alternative’, nicknamed TINA, to explain her reliance on the private sector and the market in the 1980s.
The ITV interview with Mr Johnson began by talking about Universal Credit and moved on to haulage and supply problems.
Despite the ONS warning data must be interpreted with great caution, the PM said: “You’re seeing a big increase in wages around the whole country.
“What you’re also seeing is an economy that is coming back to life and I would rather see people being paid more through good jobs and better paid jobs.
“Because, what you’re talking about is taking more money in tax from everybody and pushing it through the welfare system to subsidise low pay.
“That’s what it is and it would be much better if pay increased.”
Tory conference 2021
After a long to-and-fro he added: “For two decades , for most of our lifetimes the UK has relied on a certain economic model which has meant that basically means, that per head of, per worker we’re less productive.
“I mean it’s a terrible thing to admit, but we’re less productive than France.”
Told the transition to a high-wage economy would take years he replied: “In a famous phrase, there is no alternative. There is no alternative.”