THE Conservative candidate for Hexham has denied suggesting people who use food banks “must get better at handling money”.

At Monday’s hustings in Hexham, Guy Opperman responded to a statement by Green Party candidate Nick Morphet who said: “If you would like an MP who thinks the poor must get better at handling money then vote Conservative.”

Mr Opperman said: “In answer to Nick’s point, I just want to say that I did not say what was printed in the Hexham Courant and they have accepted that once I provided the transcript.”

The candidates were referring to coverage in last week’s Courant of a hustings in Prudhoe, where Mr Opperman responded to a question on food banks. He said: “You will not improve the long term capability of handling finances, without better financial education from primary school upwards. We introduced financial education and capability in secondary school, but we must get better at handling money.”

The Courant subsequently published a transcript of the candidates’ responses to the question on its website for readers to view.