Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard in Twitter food bank stir
Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard has questioned whether some people using food banks could be spending some of the money they save on alcohol and cigarettes.
The MP made his comments on Twitter, asking: "Food banks serving a need – but how many folks can still find funds to pay for alcohol and cigarettes but not food?"
Mr Pritchard's comments were criticised by the Telford Crisis Network, which runs a food bank in the town.
Mr Pritchard later elaborated on his comments in a statement.
He said: "I raised the issue following constituents raising the issue with me. Food banks meet a real need and offer a valuable community service.
"However, it is only fair to those people in real need of free food, and all the dedicated food bank volunteers, to ask the searching question whether some of those receiving free food then spend their own money on cigarettes and alcohol?"
Jake Bennett, Project Co-ordinator for the Telford Food Bank, said it provided an asset for people in crisis.
This included those fleeing domestic violence and families that had found themselves homeless for a number of reasons.
He said: "It's not a way for people to make ends meet.
"People present themselves to us with addictions and we have a network of more than 40 agencies across the borough, which include alcohol and drug recovery services.
"We would love for Mr Pritchard to come down to see the work we do here and to see what an asset the food bank is.
"The people we help cannot afford any luxuries."
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