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MPs defend rejecting calls for investigation into need for foodbanks

By West Briton  |  Posted: January 10, 2014

  • Andrew George.

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CORNWALL MPs have defended their decision to reject a motion calling for an investigation into the use of foodbanks.

A proposal by Maria Eagle, MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, called for the Government to publish the results of research into the use of foodbanks commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) which ministers promised to make public in 2013.

Foodbanks offer free food to those in urgent need.

The Labour proposal also called for the coalition Government to bring forward measures to reduce dependency on foodbanks, including a freeze on energy prices, a water affordability scheme, measures to end abuses of zero hours contracts, incentives to companies to pay a living wage and abolition of the under-occupancy penalty – the so-called bedroom tax.

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The motion was debated then rejected by a vote of 294 to 251.

George Eustice, MP, for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, said: "I attended the debate on foodbanks last week and I also visited the Camborne Foodbank in October.

"Defra, the department in which I am a minister, has already commissioned a report to review the available public evidence on the use of foodbanks and this will report in the new year.

"The reasons for the growth in the use of foodbanks are complex."

Over the Christmas period, Camborne's foodbank handed out more than 1,900 free meals in just two hours.

Sarah Newton, MP, for Falmouth and Truro, accused Labour of playing party politics.

She said: "My team have had a weekly presence in the foodbanks in my constituency since April and will continue to do so.

"I fully support the LEP's [Cornwall Local Enterprise Partnership] strategy for a Cornwall living wage and skills training so people can earn more money.

"In addition to distracting from the real work being done to combat food poverty, I could not vote for the motion because it called for Labour's con, an energy bill freeze.

"There is help for people now struggling to pay their bills.

"I recommend anyone who is worried about their bills to call Community Energy Plus on 0800 954 1956 for help and advice."

Liberal Democrat Andrew George, MP, who represents Helston and the Lizard, said he refused to back a motion "to play party politics with a matter which affects so many local people".

He said: "The fact that foodbanks exist and are necessary is an indictment on both the previous Labour Party and the present Tory-led Governments.

"I deplore those who seek to make party political capital on the backs of those who find themselves having to depend upon foodbanks."

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  • Mr_Citizen  |  March 06 2014, 12:14AM

    Good job no one mentioned the fact that the govt tried to ban 'soup-runs' in London as, according to the govt, this attracts people to become homeless!! And I'm really glad that no one tried to bring up the subject of the police taking sleeping bags and food from the homeless that had been given to them by charities.

  • mickey55  |  January 14 2014, 2:40PM

    Instead of investigating the use of foodbanks they should investigate what these people who are dependant on them are actually spending their money on, it seems strange that thousands of migrants come here for our generous benefit system and yet for years we have been encouraged to use them as a lifestyle instead of what they are intended for the necessities of life

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  • gruesome  |  January 11 2014, 11:51PM

    George seems to be very selective in his condemnation blaming increased use of food banks on Labour and Conservative governments. When will the prat take the blame for being part of the coalition. As usual he's trying to be all things to all men and failing miserably. From figures I have read 75% of food bank users do so while waiting to get their benefits after an initial claim. Why are claims taking so long? If they can't be speeded up why aren't claimants paid a nominal amount in advance to be deducted from their benefit once it has been awarded? Not rocket science, is it?

  • TWINSCREW  |  January 10 2014, 2:17PM

    josdave, Good comment, yes we should abolish the whips and also the lobbyists that currently infest parliament (which Camoron said he would do) Newton got a majority to represent her constituents in parliament but she seems to consistently vote for the government as instructed by the whips. Perhaps in 2015 we could just vote for the whips and cut out the middleman/woman and save some money.

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  • josdave  |  January 10 2014, 11:55AM

    Why not abolish the Whips then perhaps they could vote according to conscience, if they have such a thing in Westminster, and not as they were told? At the moment there is very little to choose between the three main parties so come the next election very little, if anything, will change.

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  • Doitdreckley  |  January 10 2014, 10:41AM

    This is shamelful. Particularly the Liberal Democrats who wring their hands about poverty and inequality but have and are supporting cuts which hit the most vulnerable and propping up a Tory Government that makes Thatcher's look socialist. The issue with food banks is benefit delay and entitlement. Claiming JSA if you loose your job is not quick or easy and of course there are now benefit cuts and caps. You could also have had a job that pays OK and a large famiy already, if you loose that job you have problems. While there is clear generosity of the British people towards their fellow citizens through food banks it is also shameful that these should be operating in one of the richest countries in the world in 2014.

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  • willythefish  |  January 10 2014, 8:40AM

    Mrs Newton said: "In addition to distracting from the real work being done to combat food poverty, I could not vote for the motion because .... Labour's .... " Precisely, party politics first, principles last. Talk, yes - act, no. Given Mrs Newton's deceit of her electors over 'gay marriage' in order to further her own Westminster career as bag-carrier-in-chief to the unelected 'Baroness' Warsi, I wouldn't trust a word she said anyway. We need an end to mass immigration and mass unemployment. And we won't get that by voting for any of the Euroquisling parties.

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