THE leader of Oldham Council's Liberal Democrat opposition group has backed a campaign by to work towards the end of the need for foodbanks.

Cllr Howard Sykes is supporting the move by the charity The Trussell Trust, which works towards stopping hunger and poverty.

The trustintends to formally launch its campaign on April 9 when candidates for the forthcoming local elections are announced.

Cllr Sykes said: “Tragically, Oldham is a borough with some of the highest levels of deprivation in the UK.

"Although I have some issues with the Trussell Trust, I do support this campaign.

"We believe strongly that in a country as wealthy as the UK it is criminal that some of our residents still do not have sufficient money to pay for enough decent food for themselves and their families, and that some children go to bed hungry.”

“The Liberal Democrats have raised the need to address poverty in Oldham in the Council Chamber many times,” continued Cllr Sykes. “We have asked questions and brought forward motions with practical proposals to tackle food, fuel, clothing, water and period poverty in recent years.

“We have also lobbied government ministers to improve benefits, most recently the chancellor to make the temporary £20 weekly uplift in Universal Credit payments permanent, and also supported Marcus Rashford in his campaign to ensure children from our poorest households receive free meals during the school holidays.”

Councillor Sykes says he has also wrote to council leader Sean Fielding suggesting they jointly lobby the government to put forward Oldham as a pilot area for Universal Basic Income (UBI).

Oldham was one of the first pilot areas of the UK in which Universal Credit replaced existing benefits for claimants, and Councillor Sykes believes UBI is worth pursuing.

“Unfortunately, the council leader felt unable to pursue this idea at this time,” concluded Councillor Sykes.