UK: Tory welfare minister challenged about the impact of benefits changes on families

A Tory welfare minister is under fire for claiming it is ‘very hard to know why’ people go to food banks.

Lord Freud said nobody turned to charities for food parcels ‘willingly’ but could not understand what made them need help to feed their families.

Campaigners blame benefits cuts and the impact of the economic crisis for a sharp rise in the number of people using food banks in recent years.

More than half a million people across Britain have turned to food banks to stave off hunger, according to charities.

Ministers have previously argued that a surge in demand has in part been fuelled by jobcentre staff being allowed to refer the unemployed to food banks for help.