Northampton MP criticises Archbishop of Canterbury’s “mutterings” about food banks

Brian Binley
Brian Binley

Conservative MP for Northampton South Brian Binley has criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury for calling for state-backed food banks.

In a national newspaper column on Sunday, Justin Welby said more help was needed to prevent families in the UK going hungry as hunger “stalks large parts” of the country.

In response, writing on his blog, Mr Binley said Justin Welby’s comments were “one of the worst interventions by a senior clergyman for a very long time.”

Mr Binley, who is retiring at the General Election after 10 years in Parliament, said: “Archbishop Justin Welby’s calls for the nationalisation of local charity bodes ill from a body which should know better.

“The Church of England makes a very valuable contribution in every community in the land, and should be better placed than most to diagnose the real cancer eating away at our collective cohesion.

“Despite the success of the Government’s welfare reforms, the reality is that the system continues to cost more than we can afford.

“On the basis of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s mutterings, he wants the state to consume more of our national resources so that even more can be absorbed by what, undoubtedly, he regards as a benevolent, patrician state. But perhaps his experience blinds him to the consequences of an insatiable and rapacious government machine.

“Governments do not create wealth, and the more that the state grows, the fewer resources are available – either for benevolence and charity, or for private consumption.”

Mr Binley said he commended the excellent work done by food banks and other charities in responding to local needs in their communities but said only those who live is a “closeted world” would suggest that this effort would be more effective if nationalised and provided by the Government.