Cheshire foodbank rent charge 'disgrace'


Staff reporter (Chester First)

A LABOUR councillor says the ruling Tories don’t  have “an ounce of compassion” in the wake of the budget meeting.

The comments, from Cllr Alex Tate, stem from the Conservatives decision to keep in place the £12,000 rent bills for foodbanks in the borough.

Labour put forward an amendment to the budget, which was voted through on March 3, which would have cut marketing costs and would have eliminated rent for foodbanks in the area – but the Conservatives voted against it.

They voted through their budget which saw council tax frozen for the next two years, which was supported by Labour, but cut areas such as the monitoring of CCTV, school transport provision and also voted through the loss of 400 council jobs over three years.

Cllr Tate said: “Like all right-minded people, the Labour group deplores this Conservative Administration for profiting from this vital service which is needed to avoid real hunger in our own communities.

“If this Tory group had an ounce of compassion, they would cancel forthwith this iniquitous charge on this lifesaving service.”

CWaC Labour leader, Cllr Justin Madders, said the decision was a “disgrace” and claimed many councillors were giving funding to foodbanks out of their community budgets to go towards rent.

He said: “It’s a disgrace that this rent is being charged by the council.

“When it became clear last year that the council were charging the Ellesmere Port foodbank £5,000 rent, I thought the public outrage at the time would have meant they would have stopped that by now.

“Instead, we have them now charging the Northwich and Winsford foodbank as well. Have they no shame?

“But what is worse, it is now clear from last week’s debate that many councillors are providing essential funding from their community budgets while at the same time the council is removing £12,000 of much-needed funds from foodbanks by charging rent.

“We have the ludicrous situation of this Tory Council ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ – giving with one hand and taking it back with another.

“It is nothing short of scandalous.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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