Foodbank blast for MPs
Date published: 11 October 2013
OUT-OF-TOUCH MPs should take a tour of their local foodbank before making “sweeping detrimental statements”.
Andrew Barr, who runs Oldham Foodbank in Greaves Street, hit out at Tory MP Paul Maynard, who said emergency food parcels shouldn’t be handed out, because people become too reliant on them.
Mr Barr also criticised Education Secretary Michael Gove, who said those using foodbanks should take more responsibility for their own financial decisions.
Oldham Foodbank users have soared from 353 in 2012 to 1,732 this year. People seeking emergency food parcels due to a change or delay in their benefits have risen from 55 per cent to 65 per cent in the last year.
Mr Barr said he and his team of volunteers see all kinds of individuals walk through the door for help.
“Its very easy for MPs to make these sweeping statements when they don’t know the reality of what goes on.
“The three Oldham MPs are very supportive and visit us as often as they can to see what we are doing. You can’t generalise about the type of people we help. There’s people who have never had anything and then there are people who have had everything and then lost it, often through no fault of their own.
“Some job centres have been told to stop handing out the vouchers that entitle people to a three-day food parcel from us but the Oldham branch has carried on issuing them and we also get referrals from Victim Support and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, who we trust to only send us genuine cases.
“With winter coming up, people will also be facing huge fuel bills so those who use foodbanks will need help more than ever.”
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