Food bank crit­i­cism

Coun­cil­lor apol­o­gises for ‘drug prob­lems’ tweet

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Jo-Anne Rowney jo-anne.rowney@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A COUN­CIL­LOR has faced crit­i­cism after claim­ing food banks are only vis­ited by those with ‘drug, al­co­hol and men­tal health prob­lems’.

Mark Winn, who un­til re­cently held a po­si­tion on Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil’s health scru­tiny com­mit­tee, com­mented on BBC’s Ca­su­alty on Satur­day night.

In a Twit­ter post he dubbed it “the BBC do­ing Labour’s bid­ding”.

The Ayles­bury coun­cil­lor was an­gered by a sto­ry­line in­volv­ing a young mother who was suf­fer­ing from mal­nu­tri­tion, though the team had sus­pi­cions she was us­ing drugs.

The woman’s son is in­jured cross­ing the road prompt­ing nurse Charlie Fair­head, a character in the show to tell her: “You’re not a bad mother, it’s the sys­tem that’s wrong, it’s un­for­give­able.”

While some com­mended the show for tack­ling the is­sue, Mr Winn crit­i­cised the pro­gramme call­ing it “pro­pa­ganda for food banks” and “rub­bish”. He tweeted: “The peo­ple vis­it­ing food banks are those with drug, al­co­hol + men­tal health prob­lems.”

Since the Winn has up­roar Mr deleted the tweet and sus­pended his ac­count. Chiltern Food­bank has spo­ken out against the com­ments.

Dave Wor­rall said Mr Winn was “both ill in­formed and out of step” with the county coun­cil and the work it was do­ing.

“I just hope that no donor ac­tu­ally be­lieves what coun­cil­lor Winn says. For­tu­nately Bucks County Coun­cil works with food­banks and other so­cial ac­tion or­gan­i­sa­tions to help al­le­vi­ate poverty within the county.

“Coun­cil­lor Winn is prob­a­bly ig­no­rant of the work that is be­ing done by the coun­cil he rep­re­sents.”

He added in his ex­pe­ri­ence the majority of peo­ple us­ing Chiltern Food­bank are work­ing fam­i­lies with low in­come.

In a state­ment Mr Winn said: “I wish to apol­o­gise if I caused of­fence to peo­ple with my remark on Twit­ter re­gard­ing food banks. I fully ap­pre­ci­ate the need for food banks for the use of peo­ple in need what­ever their per­sonal cir­cum­stances and I salute the work that staff in them do.

“I will be pri­vately vis­it­ing a lo­cal food bank in the next cou­ple of weeks to see for my­self the work they do.”

What do you think about Mr Winn’s com­ments? Email buck­snews@trin­i­tysouth. co.uk.

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