A SCOTTISH Labour candidate launched a food bank drive on the very same day that Keir Starmer announced his party would be keeping the two-child benefit cap.

Despite many politicians within Scottish Labour previously denouncing the policy – with Jackie Baillie describing it as “morally abhorrent” – party leader Anas Sarwar has defended Starmer’s intention to keep the policy in place if he becomes prime minister.

However, even though anti-poverty campaigners state that the policy contributes to food bank use, Michael Shanks, the candidate for the Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat, asked people to donate to a foodbank collection campaign.

In an email to party members leaked to the Daily Record, he wrote: “With child poverty across our community on the rise and foodbank usage up by 64%, me and the team want to do our bit to help those who need us most.

“Today we are launching our Rutherglen and Hamilton West foodbank collection.

The National: Labour MSP Jackie Baillie - who previously described the two child benefit cap as abhorrent - with candidate Michael ShanksLabour MSP Jackie Baillie - who previously described the two child benefit cap as abhorrent - with candidate Michael Shanks (Image: Rebecca McCurdy)

“Working in partnership with Rutherglen and Hamilton West CLP and trade union colleagues from RSBI/City Buildings we are encouraging anyone in the fortunate position to help, to bring along and donate a small bag of groceries.”

The SNP candidate for the seat, Katy Loudon, said it was inconsistent for the party to decry foodbank use while actively supporting a policy which forces families to use them.

She said: "The irony will not escape voters that while my Labour opponent works at a food bank, he remains committed to a heinous policy that forces families to food banks, and women to disclose that they have been raped in order to claim money that they are entitled to.

“If Scottish Labour fail to stand up to their bosses in London and scrap the cruel two-child cap and rape clause, voters in Rutherglen and Hamilton West will rightly ask the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

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"Only the SNP is offering a real alternative through independence – which would rid Scotland of cruel Westminster policies like the two-child cap once and for all.”

While there has been some dissent among Scottish Labour MSPs over the Starmer’s intention to keep the cap in place, party leader Anas Sarwar has so far backed the move – claiming that to remove it could “spook the markets”.

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “Food bank usage in Rutherglen and Hamilton West has soared by 64 per cent in five years on the SNP’s watch.

“It is utterly shameful that after years of failing to tackle food poverty in government, the SNP is trying to use the issue to score cheap political points.

“After years of decline under the SNP and the Tories, Labour will deliver the transformative change Scotland desperately needs.

“The next Labour government will build a fairer social security system and tackle poverty at its root by boosting wages and renewing our economy.”