Blunkett broadside at peer over food banks

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Sheffield MP David Blunkett has accused a Government minister of ‘insulting’ volunteers running food banks.

The Labour MP for Brightside and Hillsborough was responding to claims by Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud that there is no evidence that growing use of food banks is ‘demand-led’.

The peer suggested use was growing simply because there were more food banks available than because people could not afford food.

Former Home Secretary Mr Blunkett said: “I have five food banks operating in my constituency, providing essential help to several hundred families each week, through the enormous goodwill and commitment of volunteers, some based on churches, and some through wider programmes.”

“It is insulting to those giving their time, and to the individuals, organisations and retailers providing food, to suggest it is simply that people wish to get food for free, rather than grinding necessity.”

Lord Freud told the House of Lords food banks were ‘absolutely not part of our welfare system, in which we have other means of supporting people’.