Funding which could have benefited Ely and Soham Foodbanks blocked by Government, MEP claims

Labour MEP Richard Howitt, right, with Rev Karl Relton

Labour MEP Richard Howitt, right, with Rev Karl Relton - Credit: Archant

MORE than £20 million of European Union funding earmarked for Foodbanks across the UK, including those in Ely and Soham, is being blocked by the Government an MEP has claimed.

In a visit to Ely’s Foodbank this week, Richard Howitt, Labour MEP for the East of England, said that millions of pounds was lying unclaimed because of “ideological” reasons.

Mr Howitt said that money from the European Aid Fund had been refused by the Conservative government because it believed money should come from national governments and not from the EU.

The MEP was met at Ely’s Barton Road Foodbank by the Rev Karl Relton and Alan Williams, two of the Foodbank trustees, who said that more than 12,000 tonnes of food had been distributed to people in need in just eight months.

Rev Relton added that the funding could be used by the Trussel Trust, the organisation which supports Ely Foodbank, to provide more trained advisors for Ely and to help with the opening of the proposed Foodbank in Soham.

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Mr Howitt said: “The organisation responsible for giving 40,000 people emergency food supplies a day across Britain is desperate for this EU help to boost their efforts.

“The Tories have said that the UK will not draw cash from this fund for purely ideological reasons, but in doing so they are playing politics with people’s pantries.

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“If all the major brands and retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda can commit to ensure good food isn’t wasted, the British Government must not waste this opportunity to do so too.”

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