Political row 'holding up plan for food bank' on Gilmorton estate, Leicester
A community group says its efforts to set up a scheme to distribute food parcels on a deprived estate is being hampered by a row between councillors.
Gilmorton Development Group hopes to start a food bank on Aylestone's Gilmorton estate because they say families are struggling to meet the rising cost of living.
The group has applied for £500 from a £16,000 city council community fund for the area.
Aylestone's Liberal Democrat ward councillor, Nigel Porter, says he would be happy for the food bank to be set up but wants to see the latest accounts of the charity Fareshare Leicester, which would provide the food.
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However, his fellow ward councillor, Labour's Adam Clarke, has accused him of resisting the scheme because it would look bad for the Government policies which he says are hitting the poorest people in the pocket.
The chairman of Gilmorton Development Group, Alan Potter, said: "Without the £500 we can't do the scheme. It will pay for the food to be transported to us for a year so we can give it out."
He said he was hoping for the £500 grant to be approved at the last Aylestone Community meeting last week, but a decision was deferred on the say of Coun Porter, who chaired the meeting.
Mr Potter said: "I get on with both Nigel and Adam but I think there is a bit of politics in this.
"I think Adam is putting pressure on Nigel and he has the backing of the mayor and the deputy mayor. I think that's why Nigel is digging his heels in on this.
"It's a shame because until it gets sorted out, people are going hungry.
"On our estate we only have a second-hand shop and a newsagents. It costs £8 return for a mum and a child to get the bus into town which is a lot and if people can't afford that they don't eat. That's why we need a food bank."
Coun Porter said: "I have no problem with a food bank, but it is a reasonable thing to do to see FareShare Leicester's audited accounts before it is agreed and I haven't.
"I have seen the accounts for FareShare nationally and they have lots of money, so why do they need £500 from us?"
He said he thought the national FareShare could fund it.
He added: "I also know that food banks have been set up in other wards without grants.
"It's Labour claptrap to say I am blocking this or against it."
Coun Clarke said: "I don't understand it.
"I've had several conversations with assistant mayors, the deputy mayor and am convinced we should be working with FareShare but my fellow councillor keeps moving the goalposts."
FareShare Leicester project co-ordinator Simone Connelly said: "We do want to help set up the Gilmorton food bank. If Coun Porter wants to come and see us and find out what we do we would welcome him with open arms and answer any questions he has."
She said they were connected with the national charity but not supported by them financially and were responsible for their own funds.