Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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MP stunned as Minister blames food bank growth on supermarkets reducing waste

Dudley MP Ian Austin has slammed a government Minister’s claims that massive growth of food banks is down to supermarkets reducing waste.

The comments come from Minister for Employment Esther McVey in reply to a letter from Austin raising concerns from volunteers at a Dudley food bank.

In response to a constituent’s concerns that government welfare cuts were fuelling pressure on food banks, McVey claimed that “the increased emphasis on [supermarkets] reducing food waste may well be one of the drivers for the growth in the number of food banks and ... the increased use by families.”

The Trussell Trust, which runs 400 food banks across the UK, says that the number of people relying on food banks to survive tripled last year as a result of the rising cost of living and delayed benefit payments.

Austin has written to McVey urging her to address the real causes of food poverty and tackle the rising number of people reliant on food banks.

Ian Austin said:

“This just goes to show our out-of-touch government hasn’t got a clue how difficult life is for people at the moment.

“To say food banks are growing because finding unwanted food is getting easier is an insult to food banks up and down the country struggling to help hungry families.

“The government has to face up to the truth – many families face a cost of living crisis and the benefits system is in chaos.”

Esther McVey, Minister for Employment, said:

“We are aware that in a number of communities around the country, there are local food aid initiatives. We welcome this; for example, where a supermarket channels surplus food to low-income families through local charities. The increased emphasis on reducing food waste may well be one of the drivers for the growth in the number of foodbanks and similar initiatives and, consequently, the increased use by families.”

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