UK’s biggest food bank rejects Jacob Rees-Mogg’s claim poverty relief ‘uplifting’
The Trussell Trust was responding to Rees-Mogg, who told LBC radio listeners on Thursday morning that the rise in the use of food banks should be celebrated because it shows the country is “compassionate.”
Trussell Trust spokesperson Garry Lemon argued the effects of government cuts and economic weakness cannot be mitigated by charities.
“We agree that the work of volunteers and voluntary organisations is uplifting, but food banks are an emergency service and whilst they do all they can to offer support to people in crisis they cannot solve structural problems alone,” Lemon told RT.
“More can and must be done at all levels of UK government to recognize and find solutions to the issues which drive food bank use and we are keen to work with politicians, businesses and other charities to tackle hunger in communities across the UK.”
Rees-Mogg, who has been tipped as favorite among fellow Tories to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister, also suggested the increase in the number of people resorting to food banks is due to the Labour Party not advertising them properly when in office.
“Food banks pre-date the Conservative government and crucially, the change that took place was that the Conservative government allowed Jobcentre Plus to tell people that food banks existed,” the North-East Somerset MP said.
“And the former Labour government would not tell them – and that was a policy decision to stop people knowing that there was help available.”
Lemon however pointed out that just 5 percent of the record 1.2 million three-day emergency food supplies were handed out following a Jobcentre Plus referral.
He added that food banks on the ground report people being in “real need, and it is clear that the dramatic rise in food bank use over the past five years cannot be attributed to awareness alone.”