As someone who has been involved with foodbanks (on the sidelines, as a trustee of the citizens’ advice bureau), I can confirm that there are conditions that must be met before anybody may receive food from these organisations, and that those attending are indeed deeply humiliated to be, in effect, begging for support. There is quite clearly a direct causal link between the cuts imposed by the Coalition government since 2010, the increase in the severity of benefit sanctions, and the rise in foodbank use since that time.
Once again, a minister in the Department for Work and Pensions has misled Parliament. Worse than that is the fact that this particular minister is a former adviser to the previous Labour government. Labour needs to take a hard look at its social security policies during the 13 years it was in government and – if it is returned to office in 2015 – prepare to undertake a root and branch re-ordering of the DWP, which now appears to be rotten to the core.
Lord Freud, the millionaire government minister and former investment banker, has outraged many in the House of Lords and poverty campaigners by claiming that there is no link between the government’s benefit reforms and the massive increase in the number of people needing help from Foodbanks.
Freud’s statements beggar belief. For example,
The provision of food-bank support has grown from provision to 70,000 individuals two years ago to 347,000. All that predates the reforms. As I say, there is no evidence of a causal link.
Food from a food bank—the supply—is a free good, and by definition there is an almost infinite demand for a free good.
In other words, the massive rise – from around 40,000 to almost 350,000 during just two years of this government – isn’t because of an increase in the number of people a crisis of poverty. No, it’s just…
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