Another Tory car crash interview – Matt Hancock won’t say where welfare cuts will fall

George Osborne had a car crash interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday – failing 18 times to answer a simple question about NHS funding – now his former staffer and protege Matt Hancock has suffered a similar fate. Here’s Hancock trying – and failing – to convince a Victoria Derbyshire and a Newcastle audience that the Tories have a plan for £12 billion of welfare cuts:

Here’s the painful transcript:

VD: You’re promising £12bn cuts to the welfare bill, you’ve told people about £2bn, and you won’t tell voters the details of the rest because …? 

MH: Well we’ve gone into some detail, as you say. We’ve set out that …

VD: But the £10bn, why won’t you tell voters the rest?

MH: Well, over the last five years we have managed to make savings in welfare …

VD: Sure, sure, sure, but the £10bn that you haven’t told .. that you haven’t explained, why won’t you tell voters about that?

MH: Well because what … got to do is, as we have in the last five years, work through making those savings and … I think we’ve got a track record which shows that we deliver …

VD: Is there anyone here who thinks, as a voter, they are entitled to hear the details?

Audience: YES.

MH: Yeah, well …

Audience: [laughter]

MH: As I said, we have examples that we have set out. But we’ve also got a track record over the last five years …

VD: But we are talking about the future …

MH: … of making some savings. Yeah, but, and we’ve set out …

VD: Tell us it then?

MH: Well we have set out … we have set out in far more detail …

Audience member: Answer the question!

MH: … than any of the other parties …

VD: OK, let me see if I help you. I have been on to the relevant government website to look at what you could cut or tax, there’s the blind persons’ allowance?

MH: I’m not going to go through a lit now …

Audience: [laughter]

MH: … no, because I am not in a position to set out those budgets …

VD: The carers’ allowance? Do you fancy that?

MH: I’m not in a position to set out those budgets, but we’ve been clear …

VD: The guardians’ allowance for those bringing up children whose parents have died?

MH: You can keep asking the same question, I’ll keep giving the same answer. You know, I’m not in a position to set out those details. But what we have done …

VD: Are you going all out to win this election?

Audience member:  Excuse me, you guys are up for a job interview and you don’t want to answer the questions. Answer the questions that are being put to you.

MH: Yeah, I’ve set out ..

Audience member: We want answers … [applause]

MH: I’ve set out where we are going to make savings, for instance, in making sure that we keep a cap on working age benefit. We’ve brought in the benefits cap. And also areas where we are going to protect, for instance, the pensioner entitlement. But I am not in a position to go through a list of all the individual .. individual benefits, but what we’ve demonstrated ..

Audience member:   Booooo!

MH:  … is that we have a track record and an ability to make these savings.

VD: Child benefit, maybe it’s that, you’ve taken that away from some middle and high earners, maybe you think it’s time to take it away from people on low incomes or no incomes?

MH: Well, as I say, we have set out some of the details of how we are going to do this and we also have a track record that demonstrates that we can make these sorts of …

VD: Are you going all out to win this election?

MH: Yes, of course.

VD: Do you think you deserve to if you are hiding things from the electorate?

MH: I don’t think I am hiding things, I’ve answered the question very clearly …

VD: No, come on! Not even you believe you’ve answered the question clearly, come on!

Audience member:   I think you are giving this Tory a hard time. Clearly what will happen, if they get elected again, they’ll get in and say .. look at the books and say, “my goodness I didn’t realise it was as bad as that” …

VD: But they’ve been in government for five years ..

Audience member:   Really? That’s exactly what they did last time. So they’ve got no excuse not to give us the detail now. That is the point I am making.

—-

We’ve seen worse on the lack of awareness front from Matthew before though…

Matt Hancock

More from LabourList