THE YORK councillor who sparked an angry backlash by saying food banks were not needed has said he will visit one to see how they work.

Chris Steward, chairman of York Conservatives and councillor for Rural West York, made the offer after he came under fire for comments revealed in The Press on Thursday. Coun Steward claimed there was no real poverty in the UK.

He said food banks were an insult to those starving around the world and said donating to banks merely enabled people who could not budget to spend more on cigarettes and alcohol.

He was criticised by the Trussell Trust, which runs the banks nationwide, and came under fire on social media websites, where he received a number of abusive messages. He has since said on twitter that he would be happy to visit a food bank to work a shift.

York Labour councillor Dafydd Williams also yesterday invited Coun Steward to visit the York food bank at Gateway Church in Acomb, and called the councillor’s comments “ill-informed”. Coun Steward declined to add to his comments on twitter when contacted by The Press.