Fury on Merseyside at Tory MP who said people using foodbanks 'can't cook properly'
Foodbank workers and volunteers in Merseyside have shared their anger after comments made by a Conservative MP, who suggested poverty-hit people cannot budget or cook properly.
Tory Lee Anderson, who represents Ashfield, sparked outrage in the House of Commons yesterday, when he said 'there is not this massive use for food banks in this country' - despite the UK being in the grip of a cost of living crisis and more and more people being pushed into poverty.
Mr Anderson said: "I think you will see there is not this massive use for food banks in this country. We have got generation after generation who cannot cook properly. They cannot cook a meal from scratch. They cannot budget." He claimed people could instead cook meals for 30p a day.
The comments have caused anger across the country, with so many people now struggling under the pressures of spiralling inflation, soaring energy bills and last year's cut to Universal Credit. Here in Merseyside, more and more people are being forced to rely on foodbanks to feed their families.
A Liverpool-based foodbank volunteer recalled a recent experience on twitter, she said: "Last week a young lad declined cereal because he didn’t have milk and didn’t have any money until the following week. He thought through every item, what could be paired with what to make a basic meal."
She added: "Budgeting every penny, being inventive with very little, this is constant. What too is constant is the complete bullsh** from these MPs when they don’t have a clue what it’s actually like and then gaslighting by saying ‘you just need to do better’. No.. YOU DO BETTER."
Donna Scully volunteers at foodbanks and homeless outreach centres in Merseyside. She said: "On behalf of hungry people I meet on Sunday mornings week in, week out, some who haven’t eaten for 3/4 days, I’m so angry at this. I know you wish you had money to buy food or heat your home but cos of years of austerity and increased costs, you’re destitute. Let him try hungry."
Liverpool West Derby MP Ian Byrne is one of the founders of the Fans Supporting Foodbanks project, which started in Liverpool but has developed into a national network of foodbank collections by football fans. He is also leading on a campaign to make a Right to Food a part of UK law.
Mr Byrne said he did not want to comment directly on Mr Anderson's 'offensive diatribe'' or give him 'more oxygen'. He instead invited any residents in Mr Anderson's constituency to get in touch to find out more about the Right to Food campaign.