‘Social supermarket’ could open in Portsmouth

A social supermarket could open in Portsmouth
A social supermarket could open in Portsmouth

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A SOCIAL supermarket could come to Portsmouth to help support some of the city’s most deprived families.

Portsmouth City Council members have agreed they want research to be carried out into the effectiveness of the scheme.

The supermarket would be similar to one in Barnsley and offer discounted products to people on benefits.

It would be set up specially for the most vulnerable people who can prove they are on benefits to help them get by.

Lib Dem Councillor Darren Sanders presented a notice of motion at this week’s meeting of the full council calling for more to be done to support vulnerable people.

He brought the issue to the council’s attention in light of the government’s plans to pull a £180m hardship fund for councils so they can help those in desperate need.

‘People shouldn’t feel they should have to choose between eating or living,’ said Cllr Sanders. ‘I want to see Portsmouth have something like a social supermarket, a real practical approach that gives people alternatives.’

Cllr Lee Mason, Tory cabinet member for resources, said the council was already doing work on the matter.

He was set to decide at a meeting today whether £90,000 should be awarded to The EC Roberts Centre in Portsmouth towards its lottery bid for funding to ensure people it works with have better access to electrical items and furniture.

But the city’s Labour group slammed the Lib Dems for their notice of motion, given that they are part of the government coalition which has helped drive people further into poverty thanks to the so called ‘bedroom tax’.

It means families now get less housing benefit if you live in a council property with one or more spare bedrooms.

Cllr Aiden Gray, deputy leader of the Labour group, said: ‘This issue is the reason why we are where we are with things under this government.

‘We are not in this together.

‘The poor are being chastised and no party comes out of this smelling of roses.’

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg last night admitted he wanted changes to be made to the bedroom tax system.

The council has also agreed to work with United Savings & Loans – the trading name for Hampshire Credit Union – and similar organisations to enable people in need to access decent alternatives to payday loans.