DWP missing from ITV election debate and viewers slam 'sheer brass neck'

The ITV General Election debate has been slammed after benefits, welfare and the Department for Work and Pensions were all absent. The first election debate between Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak and Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has been panned by ITV viewers.

“Neither leader seemed to have a plan to address this,” Helen Barnard, director of policy at the Trussell Trust, told Big Issue. “We see people coming through the doors of food banks every day because they cannot afford to make ends meet. They haven’t got enough money, because their income is too low, to afford even the essentials, like food, heating, and toiletries.

“Despite the disappointment of this most pressing of issues being ignored in the first leadership debate, we hope that in the coming weeks all major political parties will urgently prioritise hunger and hardship, and outline how they would end the need for food banks in the UK for good.”

READ MORE UK police deployed to Majorca with Balearic Islands braced for 'surge'

“This means ensuring benefits cover essential living costs and abolishing the two-child benefit limit and sanctions,” Claire Atchia McMaster, director of income and external affairs at Turn2us, told Big Issue. “People who contact Turn2us describe the welfare system as punitive and broken. Policies like benefit sanctions, the two-child limit, and stricter conditionality are destroying trust, damaging health, and deterring people when they need help the most.”

Caroline Lucas tweeted: "Since neither of the 2 biggest parties are willing to increase taxes on the super wealthy to invest in public services, or reverse the obscene 2 child benefit cap, or insulate homes, their crocodile tears about the most vulnerable are just that - totally insincere #ITVDebate"

And Dr Rachel Clarke fumed: "Sunak’s sheer brass neck in claiming this when he & his party have spent 14 YEARS cutting & trashing & mismanaging the NHS into the ground. Patients are dying on trolleys in corridors. It didn’t use to be like this. It’s grotesque. #itvdebate"

Another said: "Never been less excited for an election debate. More austerity, stop the boats, punish those on benefits, trans panic, nothing on international justice, nothing on climate crisis, nothing on wealth gap. But will it be a red or blue version for you? Exciting. #ElectionDebate"