Call for evidence to support Bishop of Truro Food Bank Inquiry

Posted on: 17th April 2014

The MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives, Andrew George, is calling for local support to ensure that the Bishop of Truro’s leadership in a Parliamentary Inquiry into the nature and growth of Food Banks in the UK is well informed – especially from the West Cornwall perspective.

An All Party Parliamentary Group Inquiry (which was launched in February) – headed by the Bishop of Truro, Rt. Rev. Tim Thornton, and Labour MP, Frank Field – is seeking information from Food Bank providers, contributors, volunteers and users.

Mr George has written to local Food Banks and is providing evidence from his own casework.

Mr George said: “I want to make sure that local churches and charities which have helped to set up local Food Banks and those people who use or have had reason to use Food Banks since they were first established in the UK in 2000 have an opportunity to “feed in” into this Inquiry. I want to hear from them.”

Mr George has been a notable rebel against many of the present Government’s reforms which he believes have had the greatest impact on the poorest in society – including the controversial “bedroom tax”. He has also opposed many of the policies which the last Labour Government introduced which he argues were tantamount to an attack on the poorest in society. These included the Labour Government “bedroom tax” for those in the private sector, contracting the company ATOS to meet Labour Government targets for removing disabled people and others off benefits and other measures which, Mr George argues have impoverished the poorest in society.

Mr George said: “In view of the seasonality of much employment in this part of the world, the delay in benefit payments when people come out of work and the very high cost of housing there are inevitable pressures on families on low incomes. But it’s not just those on benefits who are struggling. Many families are affected by this being a very low wage economy.

“I want this Inquiry to answer the question whether we can create circumstances where Food Banks could be made obsolete and, if so, what we can learn from the policies of the last Labour and the present Coalition Government to achieve that end.

“It is important that this Inquiry is an All Party effort. No political party can claim to occupy the moral high ground and it is very disappointing to note that some are still seeking to drag this issue into the arena of petty political point scoring, when it is such an important issue which deserves serious debate and consideration. (On the last occasion the House of Commons debated the issue, the Labour Party brought forward a motion calling for actions – a published review, a water affordability scheme, energy price freeze, ending zero hours contracts and promoting the living wage – none of which they made any attempt of introducing when they were in power. We should all be looking to see how we can help the poorest not use them to score party political points.)”

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