Mundell under fire for ‘hypocrisy’ after agreeing to open food bank in constituency

SCOTLAND’S only Tory MP has been ridiculed after announcing he will be opening a food bank in his home constituency, despite previously claiming there is no link between food-bank usage and the UK Government’s policies.

David Mundell MP has been accused of “blatant hypocrisy” after he announced he will open the Trussell Trust food bank at the Apex Centre in Dumfries.

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The food bank opening in Mundell’s constituency of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale will sit just yards away from the existing First Page Agency food-bank project.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Secretary said First Page Agency volunteer Mark Frankland’s comments about welfare reform causing hardship “should be taken with a pinch of salt”, because he was a supporter of independence.

The Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) was quick to condemn Mundell’s appearance, saying that it is an admission that this government’s policies are hurting people within his constituency.

Joining the chorus of voices, the SNP also attacked the Scottish Secretary, saying the growth in food bank usage has been caused by his government’s policies.

Eilidh Whiteford, SNP’s Westminster social justice spokesperson, said: “David Mundell has failed to grasp the blatant hypocrisy of opening a food bank – the huge growth of which has been caused by his Tory government’s policies.

“The Trussell Trust which runs the food bank has stated that UK government welfare cuts – which David Mundell voted for – is causing severe hardship for working poor and vulnerable people.”

A Trussell Trust press release announcing Mundell’s visit on Friday states that welfare reform is causing hardship for individuals and families, and that benefit changes are one of the underlying causes of poverty.

Figures published by The Trussell Trust in April revealed that more than 117,000 referrals were made in Scotland for emergency food parcels in the last financial year, showing an increase of 63 per cent.

The document stated that benefits problems still remain the largest driver of food-bank use UK-wide, but there has been an increase in numbers referred due to low income in the last year.

Despite these statistics, Mundell told a Holyrood committee that he does not accept the relation between the Tories’ policies and foodbank usage.

“The three issues that are most commonly raised in relation to food banks are sanctions, delays in benefit payments and low income. I do not accept that those three issues are welfare reform issues,” the Scottish Secretary said earlier this year.

Ewan Gurr, Scotland network manager for the Trussell Trust, said: “Like many small rural towns, Dumfries has seen the impact of the rising cost of food and fuel, insecure nature of employment and welfare reform, which has created financial hardship for many individuals and families throughout the entire local authority of Dumfries and Galloway.”

The STUC’s Ian Tasker said: “Welfare reform is affecting people in and out of work as benefits are being cut. It is strange that despite a lot of evidence to the contrary that Mundell still holds the position that welfare cuts do not lead to increased food bank use.

“The reasons David Mundell acknowledges as being the most common given for people accessing food banks are the product of welfare reform, increased use of sanctions and delays in benefits.”


The above article is from http://www.thenational.scot/ . Find the original here.


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