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Foodbank trust: Mundell 'brave' to attend opening

It was NOT a mistake to invite Scotland's only Conservative MP to the opening of a new foodbank, according to the Trussell Trust.

The charity's Scotland Network Manager says they invited local elected politicians from all the major political parties, and that David Mundell was "brave" to attend the event:

I was glad that he came to the foodbank today, I was glad that he made an effort to be here.

It was a brave move, and a bold move. He's had a lot of negative feedback about being at the launch of the Peebleshire foodbank, and I was happy to welcome him today.

I wasn't asking people to agree with his politics, I wasn't asking them to agree with his view on the Scotland Bill, or the Budget.

I was asking people to welcome him as a human being, and I think he came today to represent his constituents, many of whom are going to have to use this foodbank."

– Ewan Gurr, Scotland Network Manager

Protestor slams 'ridiculous' Mundell

A protestor has called Conservative MP David Mundell "ridiculous", after he attended the opening of a foodbank in Dumfries.

Lesley-Anne McLelland was part of a group of around 50 campaigners, who surrounded the Scottish Secretary's car as he left the event, chanting "shame on you":

David Mundell is coming to open a foodbank today, and in the past he has made the ridiculous claim that there is no link between austerity and foodbanks.

I just find it absolutely ridiculous that somebody in his position can A, say that, and B, come along and open a foodbank.

– Lesley-Anne McLelland, protestor

Mr Mundell says he's disappointed the issue of foodbanks has become politicised, and that he's determined to help everyone in his constituency - whatever their political beliefs.


Protestors swarm Mundell's car at foodbank opening

Protestors swarmed around Conservative MP David Mundell's car today, as he opened a new foodbank in Dumfries.

As he attempted to leave the premises through the back door, around 50 people surrounded his car, many with placards criticising the Conservative Party.

Police escorted David Mundell's car through the crowd. Credit: ITV Border
Police escorted David Mundell's car through the crowd. Credit: ITV Border
The protestors say Conservative policies mean more foodbanks are needed. Credit: ITV Border
The protestors say Conservative policies mean more foodbanks are needed. Credit: ITV Border

The protestors have called his visit hypocritical, because they say changes to the welfare system are increasing the need for foodbanks.

But Mr Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, says he was invited to the opening, and denies the link between his party's welfare reforms and foodbanks.


David Mundell to open Dumfries foodbank

David Mundell MP. Credit: PA

Conservative MP David Mundell is to open a new foodbank in Dumfries today.

It will be the second foodbank in the town, and will be based at the Apex Centre.

However, the Scottish Secretary's presence has drawn criticism from his political opponents, who say the Government's welfare policies are leading to an increased use of foodbanks.

Mr. Mundell has denied that claim.

MSP challenges Mundell on Dumfries foodbank

A Trussell Trust foodbank. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Archive/PA Images

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has challenged Scottish Secretary David Mundell, over his stance on foodbanks.

Mundell, who is MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, will open a new Trussell Trust foodbank in Dumfries on Friday.

However, he's previously rejected suggestions that there is a link between Conservative Party policies, and increased use of foodbanks.

McAlpine, who cross examined Mundell when he made the comments in the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee, has now written to the MP, to ask him if he's changed his stance:

Many people were very surprised that Mr Mundell agreed to open a foodbank after he attacked Dumfries’s existing foodbank for linking welfare reforms to food poverty.

Perhaps Mr Mundell has changed his views. Does he now agree that his government’s policy is linked to a rise in hungry families?

We know for example that many more people are being sanctioned by his government. And the latest decision to get rid of tax credits will certainly lower incomes, which the Trussell Trust says is a major cause of food poverty.

The opening of a food bank is nothing to celebrate - it is a direct consequence of the failure of David Mundell’s Conservative government, which is represented by only one MP in Scotland.”

– Joan McAlpine, SNP MSP

Beatrix Potter could feature on new £20 note

Two current £20 notes. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/PA Images

The Bank of England has finished its two-month consultation into who should appear on the new £20 notes - and a famous Cumbrian author is amongst the front-runners.

Beatrix Potter, who had holidays in the Lake District, and eventually bought a farm there, is known for her children's books, including "The Tale of Peter Rabbit".

Beatrix Potter. Credit: PA

More than 21,000 nominations have been sent in, with other suggestions including architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, painters John Constable and JMW Turner, fashion designer Alexander McQueen and sculptor Barbara Hepworth.

Nominees to replace economist Adam Smith on the £20 note must come from the world of the visual arts and no longer be alive.

A short-list of nominations will be drawn up before Bank of England Governor Mark Carney makes the final decision.

The new £20 note will go into circulation in 2020, and there's another Cumbrian connection, as a company in Wigton, Innovia, is at the heart of the manufacture of the new plastic notes.

Foodbank charity responds to Conservative MP criticism

The Trussell Trust has opened foodbanks across the country. Credit: PA

The Trussell Trust has responded to the criticism it received, when announcing that Scotland's only Conservative MP will open a new foodbank in Dumfries.

The charity says it's standard practice to invite a local MP to such events, and plays an important role in informing local politicians about the struggles their constituents can face:

The Trussell Trust has launched 50 foodbanks in 27 of Scotland’s local authorities. When a foodbank is due to launch, it is standard practice to invite the local elected Member of Parliament to say a few words about the opening of the local foodbank. It is also common to invite other elected representatives from the area to participate in the launch and that is the position we have taken with Dumfriesshire foodbank, which will serve the people of Dumfries and beyond.

David Mundell MP, as the elected representative for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale plays an important role in Westminster and we believe it is important for him, as well as the elected representatives from all other political parties, to be aware of the implications hunger has on the people of his own constituency.

We welcome his willingness to participate in the launch and hear from the people who will be working to tackle food poverty in the area. The Trussell Trust supports a robust and resilient welfare system and is keen to engage with elected representatives from all political parties to raise the challenges of insecure employment, decreasing or static incomes, increasing living costs and welfare reform, which are among the key drivers that lead to hunger.

We have met with David Mundell to discuss these issues previously and are keen to continue to ensure he is aware of the impact they have on his constituents. We will ask that he takes our evidence on the drivers of food poverty and our proposed solutions back to his colleagues in Westminster."

– Trussell Trust
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