Families using food banks “must get better at handling money,” according to the Conservative candidate for Hexham, Guy Opperman.

Mr Opperman made the comments at a husting events in Prudhoe after being asked how people using food banks could be helped. He said the Conservatives would raise the minimum wage and the tax threshold, offer more free childcare, and make sure there were greater opportunities for employment.

And he added: “You will not improve the long term capability of handling finances without better financial education from primary school upwards. We must get better at handling money.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Stephen Howse replied: “A child knows that when you have no money, you have no money. One in four children in this constituency is living in poverty. That is a disgrace.”

The Green Party candidate, Nick Morphet, said his party would introduce a universal basic income of £89 a week to combat poverty, while Labour’s Penny Grennan said the fact that working families had to use food banks was “shameful.”