Former prime minister David Cameron has been accused of hypocrisy after announcing he was working at a foodbank.
The ex-Tory leader revealed he’d been volunteering for two years at a food project in west Oxfordshire called the Chippy Larder.
He added he was driving a small lorry full of supplies for Ukrainian refugees to the country’s border with Poland following Russia's invasion.
But critics quickly pointed out that the former PM was in charge of the country during austerity when foodbank use went up.
Coventry South Labour MP Zarah Sultana tweeted: “Foodbank use went up 2,612% while David Cameron was Prime Minister. Apologise for that before you start posing for photos.”
In the early 2010s, Cameron presided over an austerity programme that involved cutting government spending to bring the deficit down. Many blamed benefit cuts for the increase in the use of foodbanks.
Playwright Bonnie Greer added: “Could have been more use if you & your #Parliament had not imposed #austerity,stripping out much of the vestiges of the Welfare State simply because you did not ideologically approve. Culture boards packed with #Tories etc.
“Sackcloth & ashes more appropriate for you, #DavidCameron.”
The Trussell Trust, which runs a network of foodbanks, commissioned a YouGov survey of 1,506 UK adults claiming Universal Credit between 24 January and 15 February.
It found that one in six respondents (17%) needed to visit a foodbank at least once since December.
One in three (33%) people had more than one day in the last month where they did not eat at all or had only one meal.
Last month, Citizens Advice issued a ‘red alert’ warning as demand for its services soared, with its frontline staff helping record numbers access support such as food banks and one-off charitable grants amid the cost-of-living crisis.
Cameron said donations had been taken in for refugees from Ukraine and they now had enough “to fill a small lorry with everything from nappies to sanitary products, warm clothes to first aid kits”.
Earlier this week, he called for more humanitarian help to be given to Ukraine.
Speaking to Channel 4 News, he urged the Government to “get back” to dedicating 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to overseas aid, after it was cut to 0.5% last year.
Cameron said the Cabinet should have an aid minister, who would be “100% dedicated” to the role.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has promised to return the UK’s aid contributions to 0.7% by the end of this Parliament.
He also said permanent Nato bases should be created in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.