14/09/2017 13:10 BST | Updated 14/09/2017 15:07 BST

Jacob Rees-Mogg Says Rise In Foodbank Usage Is 'Rather Uplifting'

It 'shows what a good compassionate country we are'.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has come under fire for describing the the growing use of foodbanks in the UK as “rather uplifting”.

Speaking on LBC, the backbench MP, who recently hit the headlines over rumours he could be considering a Tory leadership bid, said: “I don’t think the state can do everything.

“It tries to provide a base of welfare that should allow people to make ends meet during the course of the week, but on some occasions that will not work.

“And to have charitable support given by people voluntarily to support their fellow citizens, I think is rather uplifting and shows what a good, compassionate country we are.”

Dan Kitwood via Getty Images
Jacob Rees-Mogg said the rise in foodbanks was 'rather uplifting'

The latest statistics from anti-poverty charity the Trussell Trust show that UK foodbank use has continued to rise.

In their report in April this year, the Trussell Trust pointed towards issues such as the rollout of Universal Credit and its six-week-waiting period, insecure or seasonal work and confusing online systems.

But Rees-Mogg claimed: “The real reason for the rise in numbers is because people know they are there and Labour refused to tell them.”

Garry Lemon, Head of Media & External Affairs at The Trussell Trust said: “Everyone who comes to a Trussell Trust foodbank is referred by a frontline worker like a health visitor but in the last year only 5% of the record 1.2 million three day emergency food supplies were given out because of a Jobcentre Plus referral.

“Our recent research with the University of Oxford found that before being referred to a foodbank, people are getting by on an average of just £319 a month. Foodbanks on the ground tell us the same – people are in real need, and it is clear that the dramatic rise in foodbank use over the past five years cannot be attributed to awareness alone.

“We agree that the work of volunteers and voluntary organisations is uplifting, but foodbanks are an emergency service and whilst they do all they can to offer support to people in crisis they cannot solve structural problems alone. More can and must be done at all levels of UK government to recognise and find solutions to the issues which drive foodbank use and we are keen to work with politicians, businesses and other charities to tackle hunger in communities across the UK.”

His comments prompted criticism from many:

Rees-Mogg also faced a barrage of criticism recently for admitting he opposed abortion, even in the case of rape.

The practising Catholic refused to back down on his views, insisting that he followed the rules of the Roman Catholic Church.