Labour leader says 'poor government decisions’ are forcing East Lancashire residents into poverty (From Chorley Citizen)
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Labour leader says 'poor government decisions’ are forcing East Lancashire residents into poverty
LABOUR leader Ed Miliband hit out at the government’s ‘poor decisions’, which he said had led to an increase in people turning to foodbanks to survive.
When made aware of the Lancashire Telegraph’s campaign to encourage readers to donate to local foodbanks, he said people were being forced to rely on them because of low incomes, rising debts, and delayed benefit payments.
Speaking at an event in Darwen with Labour’s parliamentary candidate Will Straw, Mr Miliband said there needed to be a cap on the cost of credit to crack down on pay day lenders, and that more had to be done to strengthen credit unions, to prevent people from getting heavily into debt.
He said: “There are three issues that are driving people to food banks: Low income, debt and delays in benefit payments. I think we’ve got to deal with all of them.
“Acting on all of those things can prevent what I think is a terrible thing, which is in 2013 to see all these people ending up at foodbanks.
“Michael Gove said recently that the reason people ended up at foodbanks was because of their own poor decisions.
“I don’t think that people end up at foodbanks because of their own poor decisions. I think it’s poor decisions by a government that doesn’t understand their lives, doesn’t walk in their shoes, and we would have a different approach.”
Mr Straw also criticised Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians for volunteering at foodbanks while supporting the government’s economic policies and welfare reforms.
He said: “Many people have been appalled by the increases in the number of people who have to use them, but what sticks in the throat is when some people on the other side of the political divide make political capital out of volunteering at foodbanks when it’s actually the policies of their government that have been responsible for that.”
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