POLITICS

Ed Miliband Brands Michael Gove A 'Disgrace' For Food Bank Comment

11/09/2013 12:39 BST
PA
Labour party leader Ed Miliband speaks as shadow chancellor Ed Balls gestures during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.

Ed Miliband has attacked Michael Gove for suggesting if people needed to use food banks it was their own fault.

"The children's secretary is an absolute disgrace," the Labour leader told MPs today. Pointing at the government front bench during prime minister's questions he added: "Let's see any of them try and live on £150 a week."

During education questions in the Commons this week, Gove said some people used food banks as a result of bad "decisions" they had made with their finances.

"I had the opportunity to visit a food bank in my constituency only on Friday and I appreciate that there are families who do face considerable pressures. It's often as a result of some decisions that have been taken by those families which mean that they are not best able to manage their finances," he said.

"What we need to do is to ensure the support is there not just financially but also to make sure that the right decisions are made."

David Cameron said rather than criticising Gove, Miliband should be praising him for "delivering the results we need in the education system".

Answering a question from another MP, the prime minister said the main reason the use of food banks had gone up under the coalition was that the government was not trying to hide them like Labour had.

"We should work with and thank the food bank movement and the excellent work they do. We should recognise the use of food banks went up ten times under Labour," he said.

And he accused Labour of putting a "block" on job centres during its time in power from sending people to food banks - something the coalition has stopped.

Cameron said: "They didn't do it because it was bad PR, well this government is interested in doing the right thing rather than something that looks good."

Pivoting his answer to Miliband away from food banks to the Labour leader's trouble with the trade unions, Cameron mocked his speech to the TUC conference on Tuesday. "He told us it was going to be Raging Bull, he gave us Chicken Run," he said.