Minister implies that food bank use is a matter of choice

Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer dismisses the notion that people are compelled to use food banks, stating that depending on free handouts is a personal decision.

During his appearance on Sky News, Mr. Mercer seemed to indicate that certain armed forces personnel resort to food banks due to personal budgeting choices, while also defending military pay levels.

The Member of Parliament for Plymouth Moor View, a Conservative MP, stated that the use of food banks is based on individual choices regarding budgeting on a monthly basis.

The individual expressed, “Undoubtedly, I do not wish for anyone to have to depend on food banks. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that we are currently confronting difficult times regarding the cost of living.”

He reiterated his stance, saying, “I will consistently support higher pay for service personnel; it would be illogical not to do so. However, these increases must be managed within the confines of a budget.”

When confronted with the assertion that individuals do not willingly depend on food banks for their essential supplies, in reply, Mr. Mercer expressed, “Drawing from my personal encounters, that assertion is incorrect.”

“I believe there are certain severe situations where we must provide better support and ensure a safety net for individuals. However, I don’t consider food bank usage to be an accurate reflection of the extent of poverty, whether relative or absolute, in our country,” expressed the individual.

Mr. Mercer further commented, “While I certainly do not wish to see anyone resorting to food banks, being in the military still provides a decent wage and a good standard of living.”

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“And I believe this will remain true in the future.” Food banks are typically operated by charitable organizations and community groups, providing free packages of donated goods to individuals who are unable to afford regular retail prices.

Individuals who visit food banks are typically referred by various services or specialists, including doctors, health visitors, social workers, or organizations like Citizens Advice.

Responding to criticism on social media, he subsequently tweeted: “Military personnel should not have to rely on food banks – end of story. You may disagree, but that is the reality.”

“If you are a serving personnel and find yourself using a food bank due to extreme need, please reach out to me, and I will personally visit you to offer assistance,” stated the individual.

Source : bbc.com

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