Julie Elliott declares the “country is a mess” after pensioner goes six years without a hot meal.

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott has denounced the country as “a mess” after an elderly man in the city went six years “without a hot meal”

John Foster, 76 years old, has been attending the warm space hosted by Pallion Action Group, who have been providing him what he claims to be his first hot meals in years.

Julie quoted that: “The country is in a mess and John’s story is sadly a reflection of that.

“Millions of families, pensioners, working people – people who’ve always kept their heads above water – are going without decent food and heating in 2023.

“In the same way as food banks, I wish these warm hubs weren’t necessary. The simple fact is however, at the moment, this community-based support is a lifeline for many.

“I am exceptionally grateful to Karen Noble and her team at Pallion Action Group for finding John the support he needed.”

Karen and her team found out John was having trouble filling in forms to receive Attendance Allowance and offered to help.

John was awarded the money and not believing it was true, the group’s staff took him to the Post Office to draw out the cash meaning he could turn on his heating.

Ms Elliot said: “I work closely with Karen, and I know how hard she works to deliver positive outcomes like this for thousands of individuals and families in Pallion and the surrounding area every year.

“People like Karen, the community groups, churches, businesses, libraries, who are hosting these warm space hubs, are filling a gap that the Conservative Government has blown open.”

Ms Elliot said massive cuts to local government and support services by the Conservatives since 2010 mean we are relying more on the good will of community groups and people like Karen to ensure people are getting the support they are entitled to.

She added: “There has been a complete failure over the last 12 years to build an economy that actually works in the interests of working people and pensioners. The Conservatives have proven to be completely irresponsible stewards of the economy.

“Labour will stabilise our economy, and we will get it growing with our Green Prosperity Plan and our active partnership with British businesses.”