Hardly surprising with headlines such as 'Extra Food Banks Aren't Needed Because Restaurants Are Busy, Says Tory Councillor' controversy was caused and it's only right that I set the record straight and apologise if my words have been misunderstood and caused any offence. Although to be fair I never actually said those words and do not believe them to be true.
It's a problem we all have that words can be taken out of context and the actual message lost! Add to the mix being a politician and being me. Well you've read the results!
The reason I am against the creation of a food bank at Crawley Town Hall is very simple. The current food banks in the town are not over subscribed so why open another at expenses to tax payers when there is current no need. The only reason I can see for making such a proposal is political gain and such a serious issue shouldn't be used as a political football.
I'm going to be honest again as I never hold back but I am against food banks. We should not need them with the welfare system that we have. Instead of opening more food banks we should be dealing with the reason that people are using them. Getting people back to work, increasing the tax limit to £10,500 are policies designed to help those most in need. For those that cannot work we have a benefits officer at the Town Hall who will help and check that you are receiving everything you should and that we are doing all we can to help you.
I offer to sit down with our officers at the Town Hall and help anyone that is currently using food banks to look at your budget and see what can be done to help. People shouldn't need food banks and therefore I want to make sure the council is doing all that it can to have no one using them.
That is why I do not believe we have food poverty in real terms in Crawley. I say in real terms as I've seen true poverty in its most horrible form in the developing world on many occasions. Once you have seen that with your own eyes it puts everything else into perspective.
There is enough help so that there isn't food poverty and where there is, that needs to be addressed by whatever means possible and that was my point. It's not good enough politicians just talking about food poverty for political gain. Action not words is required. Food banks are not the answer as they just act as a band aid and a political tool!
I said that of course people are struggling as we in the main all are but that it was hard to argue there was a cost of living crisis when all the restaurants, cinema, bowling alley etc are full on a weekend. Of course this has been taken massively out of context in a sort of 'let them eat cake' way. Again total rubbish as my point was that things aren't as bad as Labour keep trying to make out. Yes it's tough but things are certainly better than they were four years ago!
Finally I want to address this out of touch nonsense that always gets thrown at Conservative politicians and of course me as I do have a double barrelled surname. I grew up in a single parent family where my mum worked 14hr days to put food on the table. We lived in a council house and I went to a compressive school. The only holidays we got were to Butlins, but they were great as we were together. I remember having grown so much that my trousers became ankle swingers, but mum couldn't afford new trousers for me, so had to live with them and the comments from other students.
Now I work as cabin crew in a shared rented house with a basic salary of £13,000 a year, without a pay rise in four years. Hardly rich and hardly enough money to make me out of touch. Yes I do go out for meals but I use things like Voucher Cloud and besides I work hard, why shouldn't I spend my money how I choose?
Telling you this is not a 'woe is me' or please have sympathy for me moment, just redressing this 'out of touch' premises that all politicians are rich and live on a different planet. It's as wrong to jump to the conclusion that everyone on benefits is a scrounger as much as that every politician is rich and out of touch. At the end of the day most of us are just trying to make this country a better place to live in.