Peston: Rees-Mogg responds to ‘no massive need’ for food banks – ‘I can’t cook’

The Minister for Brexit Opportunities was asked by Robert Peston what he made of Mr Anderson’s comments in the House of Commons, namely that “there would be much less food poverty, much less use of food banks if British people knew how to cook”.

When challenged as to whether that was really the cause of food poverty, Mr Rees-Mogg answered: “I don’t think it would be right for me to say something like that as I can’t cook.

“I would be guilty of a charge of hypocrisy if I were to make that statement.”

Political correspondent Adam Bienkov also shared Mr Anderson’s comments on Twitter, writing: “Conservative MP Lee Anderson says there isn’t a massive need for food banks in the UK, it’s just that people ‘cannot cook properly, they can’t cook a meal from scratch, they cannot budget’.”

On last night’s Peston’s programme, ITV News deputy political editor Anushka Asthana presented data from the Food Foundation, an organisation which looks at the percentage of people who are struggling with food costs.

According to their information, the number of people who have had to skip food for a whole day due to being unable to afford it has risen from 3.6 percent in January 2022 to 4.6 percent in April this year – equivalent to 2.4 million adults.

The number of adults considered food insecure in general has also soared from 8.8 percent to 13.8 percent in the same time period, making 7.3 million food insecure adults and households.

The numbers were also broken down into work sectors, which showed that 21.6 percent of NHS and social care workers were food insecure, considerably higher than the national average.

The figures were even worse for those employed in the food sector, where 24.2 percent are food insecure.

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His comments on cooking and budgeting were blasted as “crass and cruel” by opposition MPs, with Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Karen Buck saying: “In the world where people actually live we now hear daily stories of families going without food and others unable to turn their ovens on in fear of rising energy bills.

“The idea that the problem is cooking skills and not 12 years of Government decisions that are pushing people into extreme poverty is beyond belief.”