Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has been criticised for appealing for donations to his local foodbank – after previously describing those in need of emergency supplies as merely suffering “cash flow problems”.
Raab, who left government amid the backlash to Theresa May’s Brexit deal last month, recently shared his support for a Trussell Trust donations appeal on social media.
In a tweet, Raab wrote: “Thank you to Tesco in Molesey and the Trussell Trust for partnering to encourage customers to generously provide food collections for families in our community, who are struggling at this time of year.”
But his championing of the charity appeared to contrast sharply with his previous comments about those who attend foodbanks.
During a March 2017 debate on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, Raab told a stunned audience he had studied data which suggested those receiving food parcels were bad at managing money.
“The typical user of a food bank is not someone who’s languishing in poverty, it’s someone who has a cashflow problem episodically,” he said.
Raab’s historic comments were highlighted by Derbyshire in a tweet shared hundreds of times on Saturday.
Latest statistics from the Trussell Trust show 28% of those referred to its foodbanks cite “low income” as the cause of their hardship, while debt accounts for 8% of referrals.
But benefit delays and benefit changes were the reason citied for a combined 40% referrals, the same statistics show.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told May this week that soaring foodbank use, predicted to reach record highs this year, should not see the facilities used for publicity purposes.
“I’d just gently say to her and the members behind her. Foodbanks are not just a photo opportunity for Conservative MPs,” he said.
May responded: “We now see wages growing faster than they have for nearly a decade. We see employment at record levels, but what the right honourable gentlemen wants to do, he talks about scrapping Universal Credit.”