Tory MP continues to defend welfare reforms…as he opens a new foodbank

Trussell Trust says benefit delays and changes are driving the need for new food banks

 

The Conservative’s only MP in Scotland will open a foodbank in his constituency on Friday, amid growing controversy over his stance on food poverty.

The secretary of state for Scotland, David Mundell, will open the Trussell Trust Foodbank at Dumfries’ Apex Centre tomorrow despite arguing that growing food bank usage was not linked to welfare reforms.

In February, Mr Mundell used an appearance before Holyrood’s welfare reform committee to argue:

“The three issues that are most commonly raised in relation to foodbanks are sanctions, delays in benefit payments and low income. I do not accept that those three issues are welfare reform issues.”

The Trussell Trust press release announcing Mr Mundell’s visit to open the new foodbank however, has contradicted his remarks, arguing that welfare reform is causing hardship for families. Ewan Gurr, Scotland Network Manager for the Trussell Trust, has argued:

“Like many small rural towns, Dumfries has seen the impact of the rising cost of food and fuel, insecure nature of employment and welfare reform, which has created financial hardship for many individuals and families throughout the entire local authority of Dumfries & Galloway.

“The Trussell Trust is pleased to work with Apex Scotland given their shared commitment to partner with organisations working with people in crisis and complement the other food providers available in Dumfriesshire.”

Crucially, he continued:

“The new Dumfriesshire foodbank will provide nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people referred by local statutory and voluntary organisations, who will help tackle the underlying causes of poverty related primarily to benefit delays, benefit changes and low income.”

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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