Charity hits back in Tory foodbank row

Ross thomson

The Trussell Trust has denied it was used by politicians, after several Conservative MPs were pictured donating items

6th December 2018 by Gareth Jones 2 Comments

A charity has hit back in a row over photocalls with Tory politicians.

The Trussell Trust faced criticism online after a number of Conservative MPs tweeted pictures of themselves supporting its foodbanks.

The charity has denied that it has been used by the politicians, with critics on social media arguing that the rise in use of foodbanks had been fuelled by Westminster government policies.

Conservative MPs pictured supporting their local foodbanks at Tesco stores included Ross Thomson, John Lamont, Luke Graham and Stephen Kerr.

In a blog responding to the criticism, the charity’s director of policy, external affairs and research said the Trussell Trust engages with politicians from all parties.

Garry Lemon said: "Charity law means we can’t be party political – but even if it didn’t, we think it’s important to talk to politicians of all parties.

"Poverty is an issue that needs action on all sides. If we want to create long-lasting change so people are protected from needing a food bank in the future, we need everyone – irrespective of political opinion – to get behind the change that’s needed."

He added that the charity would continue to push for changes to the benefits system.

Lemon said: “We’re not a country that will stand for people needing foodbanks. I know the British public want to see a future where nobody is ever pushed to the doors of any charity because there isn’t enough money for the basics.

“Getting there might not be easy, but it definitely can be done. Politicians’ support for foodbanks shouldn’t begin and end with a donation – they need to do more. I would ask all politicians to look at the evidence foodbanks in our network have gathered and to act upon it, with the first step they take being an end to the five-week wait for Universal Credit.”

In the Westminster parliament this week, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stressed that foodbanks should not be used for publicity.

He said: “The Trussell Trust has also pointed out that foodbanks face record demand this December.

“I just gently say to the Prime Minister and the members behind her: foodbanks are not just a photo opportunity for Conservative MPs, all of whom supported the cuts in benefits that have led to the poverty in this country.”

Theresa May responded that wages are growing faster than for a decade and employment is at record levels.

7th December 2018 by Simon Gordon

Jeremy Corbyn is correct. Foodbanks should not exist in the 5th richest country in the world, which only yesterday found another £500 million to waste on a "nuclear deterrent". The Tories should hang their heads in shame, rather than pose as donors to foodbanks......

10th December 2018 by Jane Edwards

Tory HQ has apparently/allegedly told MPs to be pictured doing "good works". On this occasion I think Tory MPs have had one over on Trussell Trust, who are just trying to do their usual activities. I didn't see any politicians apart from Tory ones "volunteering" - there's no doubt it looks bad for the MPs , but extremely naïve on the part of Garry Lemon.