FOODBANKS are to come under investigation in Worcestershire – with the county council agreeing to examine ways to help them out.
Due to rising demand across the county, the council has agreed a potentially groundbreaking review into supporting and nurturing the volunteers who make sure they operate.
During a debate at County Hall, politicians admitted they were “worried” about the huge expansion in the scale of foodbanks in Worcestershire.
It raises the prospect of taxpayers money being used to offer advice on the facilities, and make sure the help they provide is better co-ordinated.
Councillor Peter McDonald, from the Labour group, said: “Figures show 60,000 people have gone hungry since the Christmas period, including 20,000 children.
“In just one year, foodbanks have helped just over one million people, including in Worcestershire, this should never be the case in a modern society.
“Across the country we’ve seen reports of thefts rising in everyday items like cheese, bread and milk, which was last prevalent in the 18th and 19th century.”
Other politicians said they had noticed trends in their own council wards which had started to concern them.
Councillor Liz Tucker, Lib Dem group leader, said: “Pershore is often seen as privileged and not suffering from poverty, but it has built up in a way not really seen since the Second World War.”
Other councillors said they were getting lots of concern about pay being frozen in the public and private sectors while food prices and utility bills continue to rise.
Councillor Richard Udall said: “As pay packets continue to shrink, prices continue to rise.
“We do need to create a long-term plan to reduce the cost of living crisis, and reduce the reliance on foodbanks.”
A motion was voted on suggesting a watchdog-style council body, called the Overview and Scrutiny Performance Board, “investigate how the council can help support, co-ordinate and nurture” the growing number of foodbank volunteers.
It will also look at ways in which the council can offer advice on them, and link the services together.
The motion was created by Labour, and was accepted by all politicians after the wording was altered by Councillor Lucy Hodgson, a Conservative.