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Angry mum blasts MP’s ‘vile’ food bank comments as family finds crisis ‘really tough’

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Clare Leahy lives in the constituency of Tory Lee Anderson, who sparked fury on Wednesday after he claimed poverty-stricken Brits who are forced to rely on food banks “can’t budget” and “can’t cook properly”.

Clare Leahy
Clare Leahy grapples with the cost of living crisis

Clare Leahy cradles her four-month-old son and turns her back on our camera, too embarrassed to be photographed.

Struggling as the cost of living crisis worsens, she uses a food bank to support her family.

Clare, 41, doesn’t want neighbors or friends to know she’s living below the poverty line and relying on handouts.

She lives in the constituency of Tory Lee Anderson, who sparked fury on Wednesday after he claimed poverty-stricken Brits who are forced to rely on food banks “can’t budget” and “can’t cook properly”.

The MP today refused to apologize for the remark, insisting struggling families should learn to cook and restrict “takeaways”.

Angry Clare, whose partner works in road maintenance, branded his comments “disgusting”.

She has seen her family’s energy bills skyrocket to £100 a week, leaving them on a pittance to live on.






Tory MP Lee Anderson said people are using food banks as they ‘can’t cook’.

They’ve sold their car, canceled TV subscriptions, and given up Wi-Fi to make ends meet.

Earlier this week, Clare was so broke she had to ask a bus driver to let her on for £1 as she took her son to a hospital appointment.

On the threshold of her home in Skegby, Notts, she said: “Luckily he took pity on me because it was pouring rain.”

Clare freely admits that if it weren’t for the food deliveries from the Sutton Community Help Center they would be going without food.

She told the Mirror: “My partner is a proud man, ex-army, and doesn’t like it when people know how hard we find it.

“People know we use a plaque because we have to leave the box they deliver it in on the doorstep. But I see more of these boxes here now, it’s not just us struggling.

“We don’t have enough money to deal with the rising prices of everything. It’s really, really hard.”

Mr Anderson left MPs stunned as – despite Britain being hit by a cost-of-living crisis due to rising inflation, cuts in Universal Credit and soaring energy bills – he said: “There isn’t such a massive benefit for food banks in this country”.

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In the House of Commons, during a Queen’s Speech debate, he claimed people could instead “cook meals from scratch” for “30p a day”.

The Ashfield MP also told Times Radio he had taken cooking and budgeting courses at his local food bank, where people learned how to feed a family of five over a weekend for £50.

He added: “But if we get to the real heart of the problem in many cases, there are generations of people who just don’t have the skills to budget and shop properly and do a proper weekly shop like we do done earlier back in the day and using fresh ingredients to prepare nutritious meals.

“It’s a lot cheaper than spending money on frozen foods, junk food and takeaways.”

Clare said Mr Anderson’s comments were offensive to families who use boards.

She added, “He couldn’t be more wrong when he said we can’t cook.”







Clare says her family doesn’t have enough money to deal with the rising prices
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Picture:

Rowan Griffiths / Daily Mirror)







Ian Lane says he knows many people who need to use food banks to support their families
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Picture:

Rowan Griffiths / Daily Mirror)

The buyers at Sutton-in-Ashfield were equally scathing towards Mr Anderson today.

Ian Lane, 78, a retired miner and school janitor, said: “In the House of Commons he’s fine with subsidized food and drink. In the real world, people—people he is meant to represent—are struggling. My wife and I share our home with our son and two grandchildren.

“We’re lucky because we don’t have to use a blackboard, but we know a lot of others who aren’t so lucky.”

Kevin Hollingworth, 66, who cares for his disabled son full-time, said Mr Anderson spoke “rubbish”.

He added: “People don’t use chalkboards because they can’t cook – they use them because
they cannot afford to buy groceries.”







Dean Carron helps out at a food bank
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Picture:

Rowan Griffiths / Daily Mirror)

Dean Carron, 46, helps out at a panel in nearby Mansfield. He said: “There are a lot of people in Sutton who are in crisis.

“What Lee Anderson said is an insult to each of them and they should be ashamed.

“There are hard working families here that are broken to the bone and it’s only going to get worse.

“I serve food at the Arena Church in Mansfield. We are open two days a week and welcome 200 people a day.

“These people are older, they know how to cook proper meals, but they have to choose between eating and heating.”







Georgia Willis says people don’t have enough money to support themselves
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Picture:

Rowan Griffiths / Daily Mirror)

Georgia Willis, 79, from Skegby, added: “This isn’t about people not being able to cook or saving money, it’s about people not having enough to support themselves.

“It is a tragedy that people find themselves in this position today. If I didn’t have my deceased husband’s pension, I would really have problems.”

Government Secretary Victoria Atkins said Mr Anderson’s original comments were “absolutely incorrect”.

She added: “I have spent my ministerial career working with vulnerable people… Cooking classes will not be the complete solution to this.”

Downing Street said Boris Johnson recognized there was a lot of pressure on people across the country.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/furious-mum-blasts-mps-vile-26950796 Angry mum blasts MP's 'vile' food bank comments as family finds crisis 'really tough'

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