Owen Paterson has not met any representatives of a food charity since becoming Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, it has emerged.
According to the Government’s own figures, since he was appointed to his role in September 2012, Mr Paterson has met Rupert Murdoch, Alan Titchmarsh and E.On, one of the Big Six energy companies, but no one from a food poverty charity. He has, however, visited a food bank. Labour said his failure to meet charities was alarming at a time when half a million people have received emergency food aid since April this year.
Details of ministerial meetings show that two of Defra’s three junior ministers, George Eustice and Lord de Mauley, have each visited a food bank once, but Dan Rogerson, the Lib Dem Defra minister, has not been to any.
Shadow Environment Secretary Maria Eagle said: “David Cameron and his Government are presiding over a cost of living crisis for ordinary families and half a million people have received emergency food aid since April. But Government ministers in the department responsible for food haven’t even bothered to meet food charities to discuss this important issue. It’s another sign of how out of touch they are.”