Tory MP says no need for food banks in UK as young Britons can't budget or cook properly
A Tory MP has suggest people should learn to better budget their finances rather than use food banks, in comments which have sparked a furious reaction online.
Despite the worsening cost-of-living crisis, Lee Anderson, the MP for Ashfield, said "there’s not this massive use for food banks in this country", during a Commons debate on the Queen's Speech.
He went on: "We’ve got generation after generation who cannot cook properly, they can’t cook a meal from scratch, they cannot budget."
But Britons this year are facing the biggest drop in living standards since records began in 1956, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility, and food prices are rising at the fastest rate in 30 years.
Household energy bills have also soared to a record-high, inflation looks set to join it at 10%, taxes are going up, and the UK is expected to enter a recession later this year.
The Trussell Trust, which supports a network of food banks in the UK, responded to Mr Anderson's comments, saying: “Cooking from scratch won’t help families keep the lights on or put food on the table, if they don’t have enough money in their pockets.
"Our research shows that people at food banks had on average just £57 a week to live on after housing costs, and no amount of budget management or cooking classes will make this stretch to cover council tax, energy bills, food and all the other essentials we all need to get by."
Likewise, SNP MP Joanna Cherry told Mr Anderson people do not use food banks because they do not know how to cook, but because "we have poverty in this country at a scale that should shame his government".
Mr Anderson, however, said meals could be cooked from scratch "for about 30 pence a day" as he invited "everybody" on the opposition benches to visit a food bank in Ashfield.
"When people come now for a food parcel, they have to register for a budgeting course and a cooking course".
He added: "And what we do in the food bank, we show them how to cook cheap and nutritious meals on a budget. We can make a meal for about 30 pence a day. And this is cooking from scratch."
Labour Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham asked: "Should it be necessary to have food banks in 21st century Britain?"
Mr Anderson replied: "He makes a great point and this is exactly my point.
"So, I invite you personally to come to Ashfield, look at our food bank, how it works and I think you will see first hand that there's not this massive use for food banks in this country but generation after generation who cannot cook properly, they can't cook a meal from scratch. They cannot budget.
"The challenge is there. Come, come. I'll offer anybody."
Ms Cheery said "all of us have food banks in our constituency", adding: "We don't really need to visit his because we are perfectly well aware of the requirements for them.
"But the requirement for them is not because people don't know how to cook, it is because we have poverty in this country at a scale that should shame his government."