Tory MP wants benefits raised immediately after visiting panel

Conservative MP Michael Fabricant has urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to immediately increase benefits in line with inflation after paying a visit to his local food bank.

The veteran backbencher – a staunch Boris Johnson ally – said he had decided families struggling with the cost of living crisis could use extra help from the government.

“People living on a subsistence level cannot afford to wait until later this year,” Mr Fabricant said in a post on his website after visiting a plaque in his Litchfield constituency.

The Tory MP said he had had a “very useful meeting” with the Lichfield Foodbank manager and volunteers and that agreed action was needed to prevent so many people becoming dependent on food banks.

It stands in sharp contrast to his Tory MP Lee Anderson, who sparked outrage last week by claiming some families are using food banks because they “can’t cook properly” and “can’t budget”.

Mr Anderson told MPs there wasn’t “this massive use of food banks” across the UK, before arguing that with the right education people “would be able to fend for themselves”.

Anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe has hinted at a defamation lawsuit against the Tory MP, who has also suggested they benefit from the poor.

Mr Fabricant urged everyone to “politicise” the use of food banks, adding: “MPs from all parties should be able to work together on this.”

He also urged Mr Sunak to “raise” benefits as soon as possible in line with inflation – revealing he had written to both the Chancellor and the Work and Pensions Secretary to urge them to close ahead of the autumn budget act.

The chancellor has been condemned by opposition MPs and leading charities for rejecting calls to increase benefits by more than the 3.1 percent increase that went into effect in April.

Although Mr Fabricant suggested Mr Sunak could act ahead of his fall budget, the Resolution Foundation think-tank pointed out that benefits are typically increased once a year in April.

“People on low incomes will wait until next April for benefits to be increased,” Torsten Bell, the think tank’s managing director, said on Twitter.

Mr Sunak said last week that the government’s “complicated” IT system would not allow him to increase benefits any further this year – although he admitted “technical hiccups sound like an excuse”.

However, Deven Ghelani, director of Policy in Practice, who helped develop the universal credit system, said that “IT is almost always an excuse”.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said the expert New statesman. “People with legacy benefits could get a one-time supplement.”

Tory MP claims there is no ‘massive use’ of food banks in the UK

It comes as Home Secretary Rachel Maclean comes under fire for saying people struggling with the cost of living should consider taking more hours or moving to a “better” job.

Labor MP Tulip Siddiq, shadow economy secretary at the Treasury, said Ms Maclean’s comments were “ridiculous” and showed the government “couldn’t be more out of touch or unimaginative”.

There have been mixed messages from the government on the idea of ​​a windfall tax on oil and gas company profits. Mr Sunak has said he is “not naturally attracted” to the idea but “is not an option off the table”.

Labor will table an amendment to the Queen’s speech for a one-off windfall tax on record oil and gas company profits in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Labor Party’s Ed Miliband, shadow secretary for climate action, said on Sunday he believes the Chancellor will eventually impose a windfall tax because it is “an unanswerable case”. Tory MP wants benefits raised immediately after visiting panel

Bobby Allyn

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