Lee Anderson claims people are ‘abusing’ food banks and using them for weekly shop
People are abusing food banks and using them as a “weekly shop” the Conservative Party deputy chairman has claimed.
Lee Anderson made the controversial comment at debate at Westminster Hall.
He has previously questioned the need for food banks and suggested some people were using them out of choice rather than necessity.
He said at the debate: “We have got this culture now in some of these deprived areas where people are so dependent on food banks it is like a weekly shop for them.
“One particular family I was helping, really helping, and they were going to the food bank two or three times a week to get their groceries and then, you know, I see them in McDonald’s two or three times a week.
“I am thinking, my goodness, I don’t want to stop the children going for a treat once in a while but it is all about priorities. If you are really struggling for money and you are going to a food bank two or three times a week, you shouldn’t be going out for fast food, takeaways every week. You shouldn’t be doing that.
“Food banks are being abused. Constituents tell me every single day, now they are either making it up or telling lies or whatever, but they are abused.
“They are abused, food banks are abused by people who don’t need the food banks - we should target the food banks.”
As other MPs protested, the Ashfield MP added: “You can shake your head all you want.”
Earlier on Wednesday he told the BBC people had been “more resourceful” in previous decades.
He claimed there had been a “different culture” in his youth, and people were more likely to take on extra work.
The MP - who grew up in a mining town - has faced criticism for previously questioning the need for food banks.
Recalling his childhood, he said “our garden was our foodbank”.
He said his parents had “made do” in the 1970s, despite growing up in an environment that people today would see as “very, very, poor”.
But speaking to the BBC’s Political Thinking with Nick Robinson podcast, he said: “We didn’t think we were in poverty.”
In May last year, Mr Anderson argued in the Commons that food banks are largely unnecessary because the main cause of food poverty is a lack of cooking and budgetary skills - and said that nutritious meals could be easily cooked for 30p a time.”
The comment earned him the nickname ‘30p Lee’ among some social media users.