LABOUR has described the Tory council’s decision to charge a £5,000 storage fee to a foodbank as ‘morally wrong’.
Chester and Ellesmere Port Foodbank provides emergency supplies for people on the breadline, with items donated by churches, schools and individuals – and people visiting the council’s HQ building.
But Labour is furious Tory-led Cheshire West and Chester Council rejected its proposal to waive the £5,000 annual charge for the warehouse at Cheshire Oaks industrial estate.
Deputy Labour leader Samantha Dixon said: “Many local people are donating to the Foodbank because they want to help people who are in desperate circumstances. The fact that the council is forcing the Foodbank to pay this £5,000 is morally wrong.”
The council has argues it is obliged to get best value for taxpayers.
But Labour leader Cllr Justin Madders said: “Claims that the council are legally obliged to charge the Foodbank for the use of the storage facility are lame. The council can and does let a number of valuable organisations use their facilities free of charge.”
The foodbank, which only began operating last November, helps people who cannot afford to feed themselves which could be for a variety of reasons including job loss and illness.
Partner agencies, including the council’s own Children in Need team, identify people in crisis and issue vouchers for three days’ emergency food to be redeemed at distribution centres.
Council spokesman Ian Callister said: “As has been explained to the charity when negotiating the rental, the authority is legally obliged to get the best value for its tax payers from its property assets.”
For more information about the foodbank, visit: www.chesterellesmereport.foodbank.org.uk.