Sunak challenged by pottery worker over rise in use of food banks

Rishi Sunak was challenged by a worker at a pottery plant in Derbyshire who said things had got “infinitely worse” since the Tories took office in 2010.

Frances Cutmore, a potter at Denby Pottery, asked the Prime Minister “why you feel that we should vote for another four years of Tory government when in the last 14 years you haven’t managed to make a good impression on our country”, with food-bank use soaring in that time.

“That’s not acceptable,” the 46-year-old from Belper said.

Mr Sunak replied: “I don’t want anyone to have to use a food bank. Of course I don’t. But I’m also very grateful to all those people who volunteer for them, who support them, so that they are there for those who need (them).”

He added: “There is lots of frustrations that you, and others, will have about some things in the past.”

But “this election is about the future”, Mr Sunak said. “And if you care about financial security for families, that’s what I will deliver, because no-one is going to be helped by their taxes going up.”

Pressed that he should tax “the millionaires and the billionaires”, Mr Sunak said: “Actually, the proportion of tax paid by the richest people in income tax is higher today than it was in 2010 … so that is already happening.

“And I want to keep cutting taxes for everyone who’s working hard.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak talking to staff during his visit to Denby Pottery Factory, Ripley
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak took questions from staff during his visit to the Denby Pottery plant (Joe Giddens/PA)

Asked what she thought of the Prime Minister’s response to her question, Ms Cutmore told the PA news agency: “I think the Prime Minister is very good at not really answering the questions.”

She added: “The thing that drives me mad about politicians is that they will say everything that they know you want to hear before the election, they get elected and then they don’t do any of it.”

The potter said she “always” voted Labour, and would be doing so at the election, but was not affiliated with the party.

She said she did not “believe in everything that Labour is currently standing for” but claimed it “has the best chance of beating the Conservatives” in the Amber Valley constituency where Mr Sunak was visiting.

The Conservative candidate in the constituency is Nigel Mills, who has held the seat since 2010 and had a majority of 16,886 at the 2019 general election.