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Oxfam playing politics with poverty poster, says Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke

By Paul Francis

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke has taken the charity Oxfam to task over a publicity campaign that criticises the government's austerity programme.

The MP is one of a number of Conservative backbenchers who say a poster the charity released via Twitter represents a political attack.

It depicts a poster done as an advert for a feature film, showing a broiling sea and dark storm clouds, under the words in red: "The Perfect Storm."

An Oxfam poster has been causing a stir
An Oxfam poster has been causing a stir

It adds it was "starring zero hours contracts, high prices, benefit cuts, unemployment, childcare costs".

A message above the image reads: "Lifting the lid on austerity Britain reveals a perfect storm - and it's forcing more and more people into poverty."

The tweet is part of a bigger campaign on poverty in the UK but has run into trouble over claim that it is in breach of its charitable status.

MP Charlie Elphicke.
MP Charlie Elphicke.

Mr Elphicke said: "My main concern is the money they are spending on a political campaign which would be better spent helping starving children in Africa. It gives a misleading impression that the poor are getting poorer and frankly that the government does not care but the government does care.

!We have actually seen relative poverty falling. It is a great charity and I admire its work but it should not be playing party politics.!

He added he had been actively campaigning over zero hours contracts, urging the government to ensure that anyone working in such circumstances should have at least 15 hours a week guaranteed.

Oxfam rebutted the criticism of its campaign.

Campaigns and policy director Ben Phillips said: "Oxfam is a resolutely non-party political organisation - we have a duty to draw attention to the hardship suffered by poor people we work with in the UK."

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