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Medway Council investigating claims staff are using food banks

By Dean Kilpatrick, local democracy reporter

A council is investigating claims its council staff are using food banks "to make ends meet".

Cllr Vince Maple, the leader of the opposition Labour group at Medway Council, made the comments at a private meeting, before repeating them at the public employment matters committee last night.

He told members: “As I shared there, in two separate occasions I’ve had people involved with The Trussell Trust telling me unsolicited that council workers are making use of the food bank.

It has been claimed Medway Council staff are being forced to use food banks
It has been claimed Medway Council staff are being forced to use food banks

“That is not a situation that any employer – particularly a local government employer the size of Medway – should be dealing with.

“One of the things I’ve always wanted is Medway Council to be an employer of choice.

"But it’s increasingly difficult... when it comes to the way pay negotiations are handled.”

Assistant director Carrie McKenzie was asked by Cllr Josie Iles (Con) whether she knew of any staff speaking to their managers about using food banks, adding it “concerns me quite a lot actually”.

However, the question was not answered.

Committee chairman Cllr Les Wicks (Con) added: “I truly would like to get a real picture of what the number is.

"It’s very easy to make a general comment, but it needs to be based on real understanding.

“I would not be happy, I have to say, to find we have employees who are driven to use food banks – but let’s have a look at that and get a clear picture on use of food banks by members of staff.”

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