Tories must apologise for denying food bank responsibility, says SNP

A near empty food cupboard. Photo: Oxfam.

The Tories must apologise for refusing to accept responsibility over the rise in foodbank demand, the SNP has said – after DWP boss Amber Rudd finally admitted Universal Credit was leaving people without food.

Foodbank providers and other experts have consistently argued that there was a direct link between Tory welfare reform and the staggering rise in food poverty.

Despite the overwhelming evidence, Tory welfare spokesperson Michelle Ballantyne argued: “What we haven’t got is hard evidence about what the real causes are.

“I haven’t yet seen the concrete evidence of where that’s coming from.”

Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd MP. Photo: Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0]

Amber Rudd yesterday admitted that there was a direct connection, saying: “It is absolutely clear that there were challenges with the initial rollout of Universal Credit – and the main issue that led to an increase in food bank use could have been the fact that people had difficulty accessing their money early enough.”

Commenting, SNP MSP Shona Robison said: “We have known for years that Tory cuts were driving up foodbank demand – yet Tory politicians preferred to stick their fingers in their ears than accept reality.

“Finally Amber Rudd has admitted that Universal Credit has left people penniless – although that admission fell well short of the apology required.

“Michelle Ballantyne must now accept that she was wrong to deny the link and apologise for the shameful impact her party’s approach has had, inflicting years of unnecessary cruelty and suffering.

“And with the Tories accepting that their policies have left people dependent on charity to feed themselves, we urgently need a new approach to welfare – modelled on the Scottish example, built on dignity and respect.”