Joan McAlpine MSP has written to Scottish of State for Scotland David Mundell, asking if he has changed his stance on foodbanks after he agreed to open one in the south of Scotland this week.
Ms McAlpine previously cross examined Mr Mundell in the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare reform Committee when he claimed welfare reform had not caused the rise in foodbank use.
During the Committee, Mr Mundell criticised the existing foodbank operator, Mark Frankland of First Base, who had spoken out claiming that there were direct links between welfare reforms and food poverty – a claim which he denied.
However, the Trussell Trust, whose foodbank he is opening this week, have said that food poverty is caused by delays to benefits and a rise in sanctions, as well as low income.
Commenting, Joan McAlpine said:
“Many people were very surprised that Mr Mundell agreed to open a foodbank after he attacked Dumfries’s existing foodbank for linking welfare reforms to food poverty.
“Perhaps Mr Mundell has changed his views. Does he now agree that his government’s policy is linked to a rise in hungry families?
“We know for example that many more people are being sanctioned by his government. And the latest decision to get rid of tax credits will certainly lower incomes, which the Trussell Trust says is a major cause of food poverty.
The opening of a food bank is nothing to celebrate – it is a direct consequence of the failure of David Mundell’s Conservative government, which is represented by only one MP in Scotland.”