South Scotland

Trussell Trust defends Dumfries foodbank decision

Food bank Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The new foodbank will be opened in Dumfries on Friday

A charity has defended its decision to invite Scotland's only Conservative MP to open a new foodbank.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell will open The Trussell Trust facility in Dumfries on Friday.

The MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale has previously questioned claims of a link between foodbank use and his party's welfare reforms.

The Trussell Trust said it was "standard practice" to invite the local elected MP to a foodbank launch.

In a statement issued by the charity, a spokesman said it had opened 50 foodbanks in 27 of Scotland's local authority areas.

He added: "When a foodbank is due to launch, it is standard practice to invite the local elected Member of Parliament to say a few words about the opening of the local foodbank."

Other local elected representatives had also been invited to the launch, he said.

He added: "We believe it is important for him [David Mundell], as well as the elected representatives from all other political parties, to be aware of the implications hunger has on the people of his own constituency.

"We welcome his willingness to participate in the launch and hear from the people who will be working to tackle food poverty in the area."

Image caption David Mundell has questioned links between foodbank use and his party's welfare reforms

The charity spokesman said: "The Trussell Trust supports a robust and resilient welfare system and is keen to engage with elected representatives from all political parties to raise the challenges of insecure employment, decreasing or static incomes, increasing living costs and welfare reform, which are among the key drivers that lead to hunger.

"We have met with David Mundell to discuss these issues previously and are keen to continue to ensure he is aware of the impact they have on his constituents.

"We will ask that he takes our evidence on the drivers of food poverty and our proposed solutions back to his colleagues in Westminster."

Earlier this year, another foodbank in Dumfries, run by the First Base Agency, claimed Tory policies were directly contributing to poverty and foodbank use.

Mr Mundell said the claims of Mark Frankland, a volunteer with the First Base Agency, "should be taken with a pinch of salt" because he was an outspoken Scottish independence supporter.

His views were criticised by SNP and Labour MSPs.

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