Today I visited the City Hope Church foodbank in Bermondsey run as part of the Pecan network in Southwark and Trussell Trust national system. As MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, it has been a privilege to support and witness the work they have done in the local community. The commitment of their staff and volunteers is commendable and a mark of the solidarity in our community. But foodbanks should not have to provide people with the basics in a wealthy, modern country.
That thousands of people are reliant on their help in our community at the heart of London should shame us all. Sadly, hundreds of people using them are in work but are not paid enough to put food on the table. This national disgrace simply wasn't happening in 2010 and is the direct result of policies pursued by Iain Duncan Smith - the most right wing Secretary of State for welfare our country has ever had. All his policies were delivered in Coalition with the lib Dems and have caused huge harm in Southwark: 7,000 people used a foodbank last year, homelessness doubled, poverty is rising again, and over 4,000 local people have been hit with the bedroom tax.
The Lib Dems have never apologised for voting for Coalition policies like these. I made a promise in 2015: I'll never vote for anything that will harm local people. I've kept my promise and will keep supporting the foodbank until I am in Government and able to overturn the policies that have done such damage to our community.