Tory MP claims people use food banks because they cannot budget or cook properly

A Conservative MP has claimed people use food banks because they cannot budget or cook properly.

Lee Anderson told the Commons everyone using a food bank in his constituency must now register for a “budgeting course” and a “cooking course”.

The Ashfield MP dismissed concerns about the use of food banks, claiming the issue was instead “generation after generation who cannot cook properly” and “cannot budget”.

He told MPs: “My invitation is to everybody on that side of the House, come to Ashfield and work with me for a day in my food bank and see the brilliant scheme we have got in place where when people come now, for a food parcel, they have to register for a budgeting course and a cooking course.

Volunteer William Forey at Drumchapel food bank near Glasgow.

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“And what we do in the food bank, we show them how to cook cheap and nutritious meals on a budget. We can make a meal for about 30 pence a day. And this is cooking from scratch.”

Intervening, Labour MP, Alex Cunningham (Stockton North), asked: “Should it be necessary to have food banks in 21st-century Britain?”

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Mr Anderson replied: “He makes a great point and this is exactly my point. So, I invite you personally to come to Ashfield, look at our food bank, how it works and I think you will see first hand that there’s not this massive use for food banks in this country, but generation after generation who cannot cook properly, they can’t cook a meal from scratch.

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"They cannot budget. The challenge is there. Come, come. I’ll offer anybody.”

SNP MP Joanna Cherry, the subsequent speaker in the debate, told Mr Anderson people do not use food banks because they do not know how to cook.

At the beginning of her speech, Ms Cherry said: “What I will say to the previous speaker is that all of us have food banks in our constituency.

“We don’t really need to visit his because we are perfectly well aware of the requirements for them. But the requirement for them is not because people don’t know how to cook, it is because we have poverty in this country at a scale that should shame his Government.”

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