A “JOKE” was made about a deep-fried Mars bar in response to Martin Docherty-Hughes MP’s question about the impact of Universal Credit on foodbanks in West Dunbartonshire.

The local authority’s MP has slammed Tory minister Will Quince for the “ignorant and disrespectful” comment that was made in the House of Commons recently.

After raising concerns about the Department for Work and Pension’s closure of the jobcentre in the Vale of Leven, Mr Docherty-Hughes cited a rise in demand at two foodbanks in West Dunbartonshire as evidence of the difficulties caused by Universal Credit.

In response, Mr Quince said: “The honourable member raises a number of points. We are always looking at how we can improve Universal Credit, and if he has ideas, he can either write to me or come to see me, because I am very approachable - we could even share a deep-fried Mars bar together.”

But speaking after, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said: “It says it all about the Tories’ attitude to the poorest in our communities that they make jokes about deep-fried Mars bars in response to concerns about rising foodbank use.

“While our local foodbanks do an excellent job of supporting those who need it, the fact that more and more hard-pressed families are having to rely on them is a damning indictment of the flawed roll-out of the UK government’s flagship welfare policy.

“The introduction of Universal Credit has been nothing less than a shambles - pushing struggling families further into poverty. It is failing the very people the welfare system is designed to support and needs an urgent rethink.

“It’s regrettable then that instead of taking these concerns seriously, the Tory minister chose to make an ill-judged joke about deep-fried Mars bars that is ignorant and disrespectful to my constituents.

“In Scotland the SNP wants to take a different approach to welfare based on fairness, dignity and respect. The sooner we have full powers over our own social security system the better.”