Conservative candidate for Esher and Walton Dominic Raab has come under fire for comments made about foodbank users.

Speaking during an election debate on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, he claimed the typical foodbank user is not ‘languishing in poverty’ but rather has ‘a cashflow problem’.

The former justice minister’s comments were met with jeers from others at the debate.

He referred to data based on research by the Trussell Trust, Britain’s largest provider of foodbanks, which suggested 27 per cent of referrals to foodbanks in the last quarter were caused by delays to benefits.

However, 25 per cent of referrals were due to low income, and 16 per cent due to benefit changes.

David McAuley, chief executive of Trussell Trust, said: “Foodbanks in the Trussell Trust network gave out nearly 1.2 million three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis and our data shows that the main reasons for a foodbank referral are delays and changes to benefits, and low income issues that include people who are struggling with low pay or insecure forms of employment.

“It is our experience that people living in poverty are more likely to experience a sudden short term crisis which would lead to them being referred for emergency food and support. For these people foodbanks are a lifeline and The Trussell Trust is extremely grateful to the public for the generous donations of food, toiletries and finance that help foodbanks keep their doors open.”

Trussell Trust data shows 14,331 people in Surrey, including 5,679 children, used their foodbanks in the 12 months up to the end of April this year.