The CEO of a Bolton charity has slammed politicians for creating “state sanctioned poverty” with their policies.

Dave Bagley, head of Urban Outreach Bolton, said that whilst politicians on both sides of the aisle shout about Brexit people are dying of starvation in the seventh wealthiest country in the world.

Mr Bagley was speaking at the Smithills Christmas Markets last Saturday, a community organised event that raises money for Urban Outreach’s Christmas hamper project- Christmas dinner on Jesus.

Urban Outreach is a Christian charity that supports people in need across Bolton.

Mr Bagley said: “Over the last decade, we’ve grown- out of necessity.

“Charities are not designed to grow, charities are designed to deal with something and then shrink and we should disappear, and the reality is that we’re growing and that’s bad.”

His comments come just weeks after the UN’s report that drastic cuts to social support were entrenching high levels of poverty in the UK, which the government strongly disagrees with.

He added: “Policies are requiring the public to pay their taxes, contribute to the state in that way and then they want them to give their food and to give their time and to give more.”

Mr Bagley also said that the work they are doing now is nothing compared to the work that they will have to do in the future.

Urban Outreach provides 1300 hampers to people on low income or who are struggling during the Christmas season.

The Smithills Christmas Markets have been running for four years, raising over £15000 in that time.

This year has been the markets biggest yet.

Organiser John Platt, of 46 Redcar Road, said: “We turn Redcar Road into a Christmas Market, we have over 40 stalls on most of the drives and all the residents love it and come out and enjoy the community spirit.”

He added: “The first year in terms of footfall was quite small and we raised about £2000, last year we raised £5,500 and we had about 700 visitors.”

Mr Platt hopes that they will have beaten that this year and raise more money than ever for Urban Outreach.

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