Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Yorkshire MP claims need for food banks is a 'disgrace'

A Barnsley MP has said that the need for people to use food banks in Britain is a "disgrace".

Labour MP for Barnsley East, Michael Dugher, claimed that changes to the benefit system were responsible.

His comments came after he visited a newly opened food bank in the town run by a local church.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said there is "no robust evidence that welfare reforms are linked to increased use of food banks."

The Trussell Trust which runs 383 food banks across the UK said it expected to help about 750,000 people this year.

Mr Dugher claimed the country was facing a "huge cost of living crisis" and labelled it "a disgrace".

He said: "We live on the seventh richest economy on the entire planet, but I saw young women with their small children, queuing up for powdered milk and tins of beans.

"They are being hit by the benefit changes. Most of these are people in work, being hit by work benefits, like the tax credits which are designed to help some of the lowest paid people."

Last week, Education Secretary Michael Gove was criticised for suggesting that some people who used food banks were "not best able to manage their finances".

A DWP spokesperson said: "The Trussell Trust itself says it is opening three new food banks every week, so it's not surprising more people are using them. They also agree that awareness has helped to explain their recent growth.

"The benefits system supports millions of people who are on low incomes or unemployed and there is no robust evidence that welfare reforms are linked to increased use of food banks.

"In fact, our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities with the Universal Credit making three million households better off - the majority of these from the bottom two fifths of the income scale."

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