GLOUCESTERSHIRE county councillor Brian Oosthuysen has praised the ‘heart-warming’ generosity of Stroud residents who made donations to tackle food poverty in the district.

Cllr Oosthuysen - a founding member of the Stroud District Foodbank – also launched an attack on the coalition government’s policies and cuts which, he said, have returned the country to the era of Margaret Thatcher, when child poverty doubled.

"In Stroud and Dursley there has been a heart-warming response to the need to provide food for the Foodbank, which shows there are a lot of generous people out there," said Cllr Oosthuysen, who represents Rodborough. "What concerns me is that there is a growing need for help. A Child Poverty Action Group report recently highlighted that the cost of raising children is rising faster than the rate of inflation."

He added it was shocking that, for the first time ever in Britain, Save The Children has launched an appeal to support families going without food or winter clothing here, rather than solely focusing on impoverished parts of Africa.

"When a charity is prepared to go on record to say that government cuts are harming the poorest, you know there is a serious problem," he said. "We are going back to the era of Margaret Thatcher, when the number of children in poverty doubled. "The priorities of the coalition government are made clear when you see that next April, millions of pensioners will be losing income at the same time as the top rate of tax for the very richest is cut.

"Pensioners on a fixed, low income are inevitably at greater risk of poverty."