Jacob Rees-Mogg has delivered the latest of the regular reminders of why he shouldn’t be taken seriously, let alone be allowed near power.
The Tory MP’s latest demonstration of just how out-of-touch he is with reality came during a phone-in on LBC radio this morning when he was challenged over the rise in foodbanks.
The number of emergency food parcels being distributed by the Trussell Trust has grown from 61,468 when the Tories took power in 2010 to 1,182,954 this year.
— The Trussell Trust (@TrussellTrust) April 25, 2017
Rees-Mogg’s explanation: The last Labour government tried to cover-up the existence of food banks and the Tories have generously made people aware of them.
And anyway, the millionaire finds foodbanks a “rather uplifting” example of what a “compassionate country” we are.
Here’s what he said in full:
“Foodbanks pre-date the Conservative government and crucially the change that took place was that the Conservative government allowed Jobcentre Plus to tell people that foodbanks existed and the former Labour government would not tell them. That was a policy decision to stop people knowing there was help available.
“I don’t think the state can do everything. That it tries and provides people with a base of welfare that allows people to make ends meet during the course of the week. But on some occasions that will not work and to have charitable support given by people voluntarily to support their fellow citizens, I think is rather uplifting and shows what a good compassionate country we are, and as I say, inevitably the state can’t do everything.
“So I think there is good within foodbanks and the real reason for the rise in numbers is that people know that they’re there and that Labour deliberately wouldn’t tell them.”
You might not be surprised to know that he’s wrong…
The Trussell Trust says low income, benefit delays and benefit changes are the top three reasons people turn to foodbanks.
An Oxford University study published last year also found a strong link between benefit sanctions and foodbank use.
And far from supporting the work of foodbanks, Iain Duncan Smith refused numerous requests from the Trussell Trust for a meeting when he was implementing brutal benefit cuts as Work and Pensions Secretary.
He accused the charity of “scaremongering” because they had “repeatedly sought to link the growth in your network to welfare reform”.
When the Government finally agreed to cooperate, the Trussell Trust found the DWP had “privately reneged” on their agreement to refer those in need to foodbanks.
The charity’s chief executive said at the time: “We are deeply concerned that some people within DWP are doing their best to block the agreement that makes this possible.”