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 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.