A DISGUSTED Cirencester resident has hit out after Cotswolds MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown refused to support a national call to investigate a growing dependence on foodbanks.
Stephen Morton said he was “disgusted” that in a recent Parliamentary debate, 296 MPs, including Mr Clifton-Brown, voted against investigating food bank use and the causes of UK hunger.
Trussell Trust foodbanks said that across the UK, the past 12 months has seen the sharpest rise in the number of people turning to the organisation for help since the charity was launched in 2000.
Almost 350,000 people have received at least three days worth of emergency food in the last 12 months, three times the number of people helped in 2011-12. About a third of those helped are under the age of 18.
“Given that the Cirencester foodbank is feeding even more people, Mr Clifton-Brown’s refusal to support the Bill is a slap in the face for everyone involved and everyone who donated food,” said Mr Morton.
Mr Clifton-Brown said there was misunderstanding about what the Parliamentary debate was about, and that it had been to discuss opposition suggestions on foodbank use.
“Foodbank use increased tenfold under the last Labour Government even during times of economic growth, however it is true that foodbank use has increased in recent years,” he said. “This is in part due to global food prices hitting an all time high in early January 2011 as well as the Government removing restrictions on advertising for foodbanks so their existence is more widely known.”
He said a number of measures to tackle poverty and the cost of living for low income families had been introduced by the Government, including freezing council tax, tackling child care costs, and freezing fuel duty.
He added: “The Chancellor has announced that from September 2014 the Government will fund free school lunches for all state-funded pupils in reception, year 1 and 2 and disadvantaged students in further education and sixth form colleges.”
Cirencester Baptist Church pastor Matt Frost meets with and recommends those he feels will benefit from using a foodbank. He said: “The need has always been there but now the foodbanks have taken off. Foodbanks are so accessible now, that the people who need it make use of it.”