A Conservative MP has been criticised for comments suggesting that the rise in the number of foodbanks was ‘rather uplifting’, it is reported.
Jacob Rees-Mogg was challenged during an interview on LBC over the growth in foodbanks under the Conservative Government.
The backbencher said it had happened because of a change in rules allowing JobCentre staff to inform clients of their availability.
He added: ‘To have charitable support given by people voluntarily to support their fellow citizens I think is rather uplifting and shows what a good, compassionate country we are.
‘Inevitably, the state can’t do everything, so I think that there is good within foodbanks.
‘The real reason for the rise in numbers is that people know that they are there and Labour deliberately didn’t tell them.’
Ian Lavery, Labour MP and the party’s national campaign coordinator, labelled Rees-Mogg an ‘out-of-touch Tory’ following the comments, the Guardian reported.
He said: ‘The real reason people are going to foodbanks in record numbers is because the Tories have slashed public sector jobs and living standards over the last seven years, plunging more families into poverty and homelessness.
‘This kind of comment shows Jacob Rees-Mogg really is the dictionary definition of an out-of-touch Tory.’
The Trussell Trust, which co-ordinates a network of foodbanks across the country, also responded to the comments.
Garry Lemon, head of media and external affairs, said: ‘People are in real need, and it is clear that the dramatic rise in foodbank use over the past five years cannot be attributed to awareness alone.
‘We agree that the work of volunteers and voluntary organisations is uplifting, but foodbanks are an emergency service and whilst they do all they can to offer support to people in crisis they cannot solve structural problems alone.
‘More can and must be done at all levels of UK government to recognise and find solutions to the issues which drive foodbank use and we are keen to work with politicians, businesses and other charities to tackle hunger in communities across the UK.’