Tory MP Lee Anderson has come under fire for insensitive comments made in the House of Commons wherein he said that poor people use food banks because they “cannot cook properly” and “cannot budget.”
His comments sparked widespread outrage, with social media users, politicians, unions and charities condemning his remarks and attitude. He has been accused of demeaning people struggling to feed their families. Labour described his comments as “beyond belief,” while Liberal Democrats described them as “disgraceful.”
He had said that there is not “this massive use for food banks,” while urging Labour MPs to visit a charity in his Ashfield constituency where people are taught how to make “cheap and nutritious meals from scratch for 30p a day.”
However, Anderson has refused to back down from his remarks and said that he was glad that his comments have created an uproar.
“There’s always genuine people staying in need. I was making that point. The point I was trying to make is that yes, we’ve got lots of food banks,” he told Times Radio.
“…if we get to the real nub of the problem in a lot of cases, then there are generations of people out there that simply haven’t got the skills to budget properly and to go shopping and do a proper weekly shop like we used to back in the day, and use of fresh ingredients to make nutritious meals,” he added.
He said he was not “being a nasty Tory,” before adding: “I’m glad that it’s caused all this fuss. Because it brings that debate out.”
Home Office minister Victoria Atkins also condemned her colleague’s comments stating that she does not agree with him. She added: “I have said I don’t agree with him. This is not the view of me or anyone else in government.”
However, Anderson was supported by his fellow Conservative MP Ben Bradley, who said that there is a problem with “basic education” and numeracy skills.
The remarks from Anderson come at a time when the UK is in the grip of a cost-of-living crisis and the Bank of England has warned that the UK economy would fall into recession this year. The pound has hit a two-year low.