Conservative MP opens food bank, opens himself to criticism

CONSERVATIVE  MP for Winchester, Steve Brine, has cut the ribbon on a new community food bank, offering support and food for people with limited incomes and those affected by the worse that austerity has to offer.

The bank, run by the Christian organisation Basic Bank, aims to improve community togetherness through the act of sharing. Local churches and services such as the Salvation Army hand out tickets to those in need, who can exchange them for food.

The new satellite bank is set to make lives easier for those who do not currently live near the Highcliffe branch.

The opening, seen as entirely good thing, criticism comes from the fact that a Conservative MP is opening a food bank due to his parties policies, that some suggest are driving people to the point of using food banks in the first place.

Mr Brine was met by several local residents in protest, who were donating boxes full of food with anti-austerity slogans sprawled across the front.

The roll out of Universal Credit brought with it many issues; a minimum 42 day wait for the first payment, hunger and a 55p minute charge for those using the main phone number. It was reported by the Trussell Trust’s food bank Network that poverty is continuing to rise across the country, with a seven percent increase of use of food banks since last year.

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Councillor Warwick Payne, Cabinet Member for Housing and Adult Care said: “I wouldn’t criticise a politician from any party for supporting a food bank. What I would criticise a politician for, especially a Conservative one in the current climate, is why they’ve not done enough to stop the shambolic introduction of Universal Credit causing so much harm and heartache to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

“It’s fine for a Conservative to open a food bank. It isn’t fine because of Conservative policies we need more of them.”

by Tait ap Ellis