Nottinghamshire Conservative MP faces backlash from locals after claiming people who use food banks are wasting their money on expendable items and abusing them into an “industry”.
In an interview with the Telegraph, Ashfield MP Lee Anderson said: “In a lot of cases these people were just wasting money on fags and booze and non-essentials, non-priority debts, Sky TV or Virgin Media.
“There was a lot of money they could save.”
Residents of Nottingham City Centre criticised Mr Anderson’s comments for being out of touch with his constituents’ realities.
Rachel Byrnes, 21 said: “How does he know that everyone does this with their money?
“MPs live in their own little world and don’t understand the harsh realities some people face, especially in an economic crisis.”
From April 2022 and March 2023, 760,000 people used a foodbank for the first time in the UK, a sharp 37 per cent increase from 2021/2022.
172,680 emergency food parcels were given to individuals in the East Midlands who were facing hardship, according to The Trussell Trust Network.
Between 2020-2021, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority reported that Lee Anderson claimed £222,618.06 of tax-payers money in expenses.
Kristy Johnson, 21 said: “This is coming from someone so privileged that they’ve never had to use or thought of using a food bank.
“It’s easy to target people who rely on community support and put a label on it, he can’t judge how people live.”
Mr Anderson’s comments come after he used his staff member, who earned £30,000 per year, as an argument against nurses using food banks, claiming that they shouldn’t be using them.
Katy works for me. She is single & earns less than 30k, rents a room for £775pcm in Central London, has student debt, £120 a month on travelling to work saves money every month, goes on foreign holidays & does not need to use a foodbank.
Katy makes my point really well. pic.twitter.com/8nrwTSQ4Qs
— Lee Anderson MP (@LeeAndersonMP_) January 19, 2023
He faced criticism from fellow MP, Jess Phillips who is a Labour representative for Birmingham Yardley, on twitter.
She said: “Does Lee Anderson think people use foodbanks for lols?
I guess the bigger question is does Lee Anderson think?”
Daisy Cooper, Liberal Democrats deputy leader suggested that Anderson should lose his Conservative whip over the interview.
Lead image: Marcin Nowack, Unsplash