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Worcester MP Robin Walker criticised over food bank debate
WORCESTER MP Robin Walker has come under fire for not taking part in a House of Commons debate on food banks – with his Labour rival taking a pop at him for “failing” the city.
Councillor Joy Squires, Worcester’s Labour parliamentary candidate, says Mr Walker avoided the plight of thousands of families on the breadline.
But her attack has been refuted by the Conservative, who said he was tied up elsewhere at Parliament on Wednesday.
He also told your Worcester News he didn’t want to get into a “tit for tat” debate with her, and that the first food bank opened in 2001, in Salisbury, when the Labour party was in power.
A House of Commons debate saw scores of MPs line up to criticise the Government for the growth of food banks nationwide.
Coun Squires said: “Mr Walker was around to ask a headline-grabbing question at Prime Minister’s Questions about how Worcester has weathered the recession, but chose not to speak up on behalf of the 4,000 Worcester families who have been referred by agencies for emergency food parcels from our food bank.
“Many of these people are in work, but are earning so little on zero hours or part time contracts that they cannot make ends meet.
“I’m glad the economy is showing signs of recovery but for so many in Worcester it does not feel like one – too many are in severe financial hardship with nothing to fall back on if things go wrong.
“Wages have stagnated and have been outstripped by prices in all but one of the 41 months David Cameron has been Prime Minister.
“That is not a record for Robin Walker to be proud of.”
However, Mr Walker said he was speaking at a debate over children’s hospices and could not be in two places at once.
“The whole thing is rather distasteful, I think Worcester’s food bank is a very worthy organisation which does important work,” he said.
“People who volunteer there do it for the best of reasons. I don’t think people should play politics with this debate.
“The number of food banks has been growing for a very long time and the first one was in 2001, in Salisbury, in the UK.
“The best way you can help people is by creating more jobs and allowing them to earn more money.”