UK

Tory doubles down on foodbank claims and says ‘I’m glad it caused all this fuss’

Ashfield MP Lee Anderson dug in over his controversial remarks, saying: ‘The point I was trying to make is that I think the the actual food bank usage is is exaggerated’

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Lee Anderson says food bank users need ‘cooking education’

A Tory MP has doubled down on his claims that struggling Brits forced to rely on food banks “cannot budget” and “cannot cook properly”.

Lee Anderson triggered a major backlash when he told MPs there was not “massive use for foodbanks” and instead blaming poverty-stricken families for not knowing how to cook.

The Ashfield MP dug in despite the criticism over his controversial remarks – and declared: “I’m glad it caused all this fuss”.

He claimed he wasn’t a “nasty Tory” but stuck by his stance that generations of Brits don’t know how to cook and the Government “can’t keep throwing money at the problem”.

“The point I was trying to make is that I think the the actual food bank usage is is exaggerated,” Mr Anderson told TimesRadio.

Lee Anderson sparked fury with his comments about food poverty in the Commons
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Parliament Live TV)

He said he had attended cooking and budgeting courses at his local foodbank for users where they learned to feed a family of five over a weekend for £50.

Mr Anderson said: “The point I was trying to make is that yes, we’ve got lots of food banks.

“But actually, if we get to the real nub of the problem in a lot of cases, then there are generations of people out there that simply haven’t got the skills to to budget properly and to go shopping and do a proper weekly shop like we used to back in the day, and use of fresh ingredients to make nutritious meals.

“That’s the point I’m making and I’m so glad it’s caused all this fuss because it brings that debate out.”

Asked if people needed education more than food, he said: “Obviously people need food. That’s a ridiculous question… What I’m saying is you can’t just keep throwing money at a problem, eventually, you’ve got to try and get to the root cause of the problem.”

Prisons minister Victoria Atkins distanced herself from the remarks, insisting it was “not the view of me or anyone else in Government”.

Foodbanks have handed out more than 19 million meals in the last year to March
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Getty Images)

Responding to a suggestion that the comments accused people of using food banks to get a “ready meal” because “they can’t be bothered cooking”, Ms Atkins said: “Yeah, that’s not right and that’s absolutely not right.

“I’ve spent my ministerial career working with very vulnerable people … cooking lessons will not be the complete solution to that.”

Food banks provided more than 19 million meals in the year to March as hard-up Brits struggled with the mounting cost of living crisis.

The Trussell Trust gave away 2,173,158 emergency parcels in the 12 months from last April. With each package containing enough food for three meals a day for three days, it means 19,558,422 meals were provided.

Of the more than two million packages, 832,109 – containing enough ingredients for nearly seven-and-a-half million meals – went to children.

Mr Anderson previously made headlines after he boycotted England matches during the 2020 Euros due to the players taking the knee to protest against racism before games

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