LETTER OF THE DAY: Food banks. Government’s fault?

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, second from left, poses with Tesco staff and Portsmouth food bank volunteers
Picture: David George
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, second from left, poses with Tesco staff and Portsmouth food bank volunteers Picture: David George

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I wonder if the irony of a Tory MP grinning at a food bank collection is lost on Suella Fernándes and Penny Mordaunt (MP offers support for food bank Christmas drive, Dec 4).

The reasons for the increase in the use of food bank services (3000 parcels in 2005/6; 1.2 million in 2016/17) are complex but the Trussell Trust believes that more than 80 per cent of referrals in 2016/17 were because of delays in benefit payments, low income, debt and homelessness.

The government, unsurprisingly, denies a causal link but there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that government policy in each of these areas is a major contributing factor.

So rather than see food banks as some sort of perverse photo opportunity I would urge Ms Fernándes and Ms Mordaunt to speak to the relevant government departments and ask them to change the policies which are so damaging to thousands of families.

However, a study of these two MPs’ voting records in parliament where these matters are concerned suggests there will be no change anytime soon.

John Vaughan

Andover Road, Southsea