Alan Cairns MP and Free Enterprise

IN the same week that the Archbishop of York described the growth in poverty and inequality in Britain as a ‘dark stain on our consciences’, Alun Cairns MP called on the Prime Minister to increase the cost of basic foodstuffs and children’s clothes by 15 per cent.

Mr Cairns and his Free Enterprise colleagues want to add VAT to zero rated essentials like fruit and vegetables, meat, milk, and tinned food. He also wants to add another 10 per cent to the price hikes already announced by the gas and electricity companies. If he gets his way, the money taken off the impoverished and sick will pay for tax cuts for the better off.

The Trussell Trust, who run three foodbanks here in the Vale, have a very informative website. Many of the people who need their help work and have children. Recipients of donated food include cancer patients and women who have experienced domestic abuse. Case studies include the parents who had to borrow soup from a neighbour to feed their eighteen month old child, and the man discharged from the army after serving in Afghanistan, who walked barefoot to his nearest foodbank after starving for days. Netmums research has found that one in five mothers skips meals to feed their children. People are being admitted to hospital because they are malnourished. These are facts which can’t be ducked, this is the reality of the ‘dark stain’ referred to in the Archbishop’s speech.

Mr Cairns was heavily criticised recently for his unwise comments about foodbanks. His response was that he had been misrepresented by his opponents. His membership of the Free Enterprise Group can’t be misrepresented, as his photograph is on the front page of their website. He and the rest of this group want to shrink the state, by removing the safety net which protects the sick and vulnerable; he wants to tax the basic essentials of life, which every government until now has protected. He wants to do these things to pay for tax cuts for people who are never going to be faced with beans on toast for Christmas dinner. Is this the kind of man we want representing us?

Sylvia Lewinton

Victoria Park Road



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