A Tory Baroness has been slammed for saying poor people use food banks because they ‘don’t know how to cook’
Baroness Jenkin pointed the finger at a lack of cooking skills just as a new report reveals Four million in the UK are at risk of going hungry
The Mirror reports: Baroness Anne Jenkin, a close friend of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, owns property in plush Kennington, south London, where the average house price is £1.1million, reports the Mirror
In the wake of a major report that revealed there is a dramatic increase in demand for emergency food assistance, Baroness Jenkin said a lack of cookery skills was partly to blame.
The All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the UK found that since 2004 numbers of emergency food assistance providers have grown to at least 1,500, including 800 food banks.
The Trussell Trust – the largest network of food banks in the UK – said its 420 food banks provided help to 913,138 people in 2013/14 – up from 128,697 in 2011/12.
Speaking at the launch of the report in London, the Daily Mail reports Baroness Jenkin said: “We have lost our cooking skills. Poor people don’t know how to cook.
“I had a large bowl of porridge today, which cost 4p. A large bowl of sugary cereals will cost you 25p.”
She later apologised for her comments, telling BBC Radio 4’s The World at One: “I made a mistake. I was stupidly speaking unscripted. I am well aware that I made a mistake in saying it and I apologise to anybody who has been offended by it.”
Chairman of the Trussell Trust, Chris Mould, hit back at Baroness Jenkin’s comments at the launch.
He told Mirror Online: “People come to food banks because they don’t have the food they should have because of an insufficient income.
“Cooking skills is not a big problem. People have no food and nowhere to turn.”
He added: “We always say people should come to visit the food banks, meet the clients and listen to how difficult it is. The cost of living has gone up for years. There is a problem with low incomes.”
Labour MP Bill Esterson said: “For a Tory member in the House of Lords to blame people for their own poverty is an absolute disgrace.
“The fact of the matter is that in David Cameron’s Britain thousands of people rely on foodbanks.
“On average people are £1,600 a year worse off. Many of the people going to foodbanks are in work.