Here’s the latest Tory MP who probably should have kept his mouth shut about foodbanks

A picture of Dominic Raab and a picture of a food bank
Andrea Needham

Some Conservative MPs just don’t know when to keep their mouths shut and their fingers away from Twitter.

Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has been to Tesco in Molesey to big up the store’s scheme encouraging customers to support the local foodbank. He says that the food bank is helping “families in our community, who are struggling at this time of year”:

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But they’re not really struggling – at least according to comments Raab made previously. In a TV interview last year, Raab explained why so many people were using foodbanks, saying:

Look, in terms of the food bank issue, I’ve studied the Trussell Trust data. What they tend to find is the typical user of a food bank is not someone who’s languishing in poverty, it’s someone who has a cashflow problem episodically.

“52% increase in demand”

The Trussell Trust supports over 420 foodbanks around the UK. And its research shows that a key driver behind the increase in demand is the rollout of Universal Credit. The Trust says:

When Universal Credit goes live in an area, there is a demonstrable increase in demand in local Trussell Trust foodbanks. On average, 12 months after rollout, foodbanks see a 52% increase in demand, compared to 13% in areas with Universal Credit for 3 months or less.

“The height of hypocrisy”

Many Twitter users criticised Raab’s support for his local foodbank:

Other high profile MPs

Raab is far from the only Conservative MP who might have been well advised to avoid the issue of foodbanks. Last year Jacob Rees-Mogg described the voluntary support given to food banks as “rather uplifting”

Meanwhile, new Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) secretary Amber Rudd has also missed the irony of Conservative MPs supporting foodbanks. She praised a scheme offering free travel to the foodbank in her constituency of Hastings, and even used to hold surgeries there:

And despite the 80% increase in demand at the Hastings foodbank, Rudd insists that she has seen Universal Credit “transform lives” in the town.

All weighing in on food banks

It’s not just high-profile Conservative MPs who can’t keep quiet about foodbanks. Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard warned in 2013 that using foodbanks “can become a habit”, whilst MP for South East Cornwall Sheryll Murray said  during the 2017 election campaign:

I am really pleased we have food banks in south east Cornwall.

And Steve Brine, Conservative MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford, was pilloried after formally opening a foodbank in his constituency, and tweeting “God bless them all”.

“Poverty is a political choice”

All these MPs have one thing in common. They are pretending that the austerity policies of their government are unconnected to the massive rise in foodbank use. Last month, the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights issued a statement about his recent fact-finding visit to the UK. He concluded that “poverty is a political choice” and that “austerity could easily have spared the poor.”

One sentence in his statement is particularly damning:

British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous approach apparently designed to instill discipline where it is least useful, to impose a rigid order on the lives of those least capable of coping with today’s world.

This is the world Raab and all the other Conservative MPs praising foodbanks live in. Punitive, mean-spirited and callous – but pretending to care.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/YouTube screengrab

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  • Show Comments
    1. Here’s the latest Tory MP who probably,
      should have kept his mouth shut
      about food,banks.
      //
      DO YOU AND YOUR WIFE
      Put food into the supermarket trolley
      to help the starving people you place in the
      way of needing food banks Yes or no?
      //
      Or is this article just you are taking the P***OUT of people
      you Mr. Rabb voted yes to putting in poverty
      plus, may be, or could be killing some OFF!
      By way of U-Credit SCAM you and Tory Govt member,
      voted YES to continue to unleash on the poor,
      low paid worker, disabled, mentally ill and so on!
      //
      Here’s the latest Tory MP who probably should have kept,
      his mouth shut about food banks.
      //
      Some point for this unintelligent M.P. Mr. Rabb
      X-Minister that could not do his job right so was,
      kicked out by Ms., May.
      (He did not resign he was sacked by Ms. May on the quite)
      //
      point +Fact
      //
      Here in in opening your mouth before engaging little brain
      Mr. Rabb truth you SIR did a runner like David -Cameron did
      when the C**p hit the fan over Withdrawal bill you
      intend to vote for.
      “I bet in Dec you will betray the voters)
      ///
      F–1 Fact is food back are increasing under Tory rule.
      F–2 Poverty is increasing under Tory Rule
      F–3 people are dying being killed OFF on benefits CUTS
      under Tory rule (by them not being paid U-Credit now)
      F–4 U-Credit Tory Govt SCAM is costing taxpayer more than all “of what Labour paid out while in power now,
      F—5 So you are going on about food banks being supported by us residents is it not the job of your Tory Govt to keep food banks full of food? as its you Tory Govt making them necessary in the first place. by U-Credit SCAM,
      you and Tory Govt are running now
      and do not pay the claimants out right so the need for,
      Food Banks goes up and up every day.
      F–6 Mr. Rabb while you and Tory party member are,
      putting people in poverty plus killing some OFF,
      by way U-Credit SCAM your party is running now.
      F—7 U-Credit SCAM should be STOPPED! FULL STOP!
      IN addition, Scraped (then No need for food backs)
      ///
      Question
      How much of the BIG pay rise have you put in for?
      as a M.P. now in 2019 to us taxpayer!
      and the very people, that are less well off
      your Tory Govt is creating now.
      //
      So “I polity say to you Mr. Rabb your statement in this
      article is demeaning all poor people, the family’s that,
      have lost loved one over you U-Credit SCAM,
      you and your party are all running now.
      also takes the P***out of them that need food banks
      hope you and your misses sleep well at night SIR!

    2. When Rabbit was housing minister a few months ago he was on the telly, promising to ‘yank’ (his technical term) at least 30% more capacity from the housing market including for affordable and social housing.
      Where are the homes: What happend? What a ‘yanker’.

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