Tory minister called 'totally out of touch' after labelling food banks 'perfect way' to support vulnerable people

·Freelance news writer, Yahoo UK
·2-min read

A Tory minister has been criticised as “totally out of touch” after she described food banks as the “perfect way” to support vulnerable people.

Her remarks follow a number of other controversial comments from Conservative MPs about the use of more than 2,000 food banks nationwide.

Thérèse Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, was responding to a Commons question from Coventry South Labour MP Zarah Sultana.

She labelled the need for food banks as a “national scandal”, pointing out there are more in the UK than there are branches of McDonald’s.

Ms Coffey speaking about food bank use in the Commons (
Ms Coffey speaking about food bank use in the Commons (

Ms Sultana called on Ms Coffey to “accept it is a gross injustice that nurses are forced to food banks while fat cat bosses receive obscene payouts”.

Ms Coffey replied: “She is right to praise the people in her local food bank who support vulnerable people in their area.

“I visited a similar one in my own constituency where working together with food redistribution, we have actually got a perfect way to try and marry the challenges that people do face at difficult times in their life.”

Ms Sultana later summed up the response by saying: “The Tories are totally out of touch.”

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In 2017, then-backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg sparked uproar when he said “the real reason for the rise in numbers is that people know that they are there”.

Earlier this month, in a blog about food bank use, New Forest West MP Desmond Swayne said people who receive benefits need “help” with how to spend their money.

The Trussel Trust, who run a nationwide network of food banks, gave out a record number of food parcels in the last year.

The organisation recorded a 23% increase in the number of emergency food parcels given out compared to the previous year.

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