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.
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.
Cumbria County Council says if the Moorside project goes ahead, the government and NuGen will need to invest in local infrastructure.Read the full story ›
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.
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.”
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".
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.
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."
That's an increase of £13 million on last year's figure and it has been criticised by the area's Conservative MSPRead the full story ›
David Mundell has previously questioned the link between his party's welfare policies, and increased use of foodbanks.Read the full story ›
For the first time, the amount of money brought into the region has exceeded £300 million.Read the full story ›
Variations in the cost of groceries are hitting those in the poorest and most rural areas of south west Scotland.
A study by the local branch of the Citizens Advice Service found the average cost of a basket of essential goods was £17.70 in Dumfries and Galloway.
But that figure ranged from less then £10 in a large supermarket chain in Annan to £22.26 in a smaller local supermarket in Sanquhar.
Matthew Taylor reports.