Friday, December 07, 2018

Grinning Tory MPs and Food Banks

Check out this article in "NewStateman" on "When Tory MPs  visit foodbanks - Armed with tins of beans and bags of sugar, elected representatives of this government have been posing alongside the damage they’ve done."

I do not for minute pretend that I am in any way neutral about the modern day Conservative Party but I am genuinely flabbergasted at their cheek.

In the article "Neil Coyle, the Labour MP for Bermondsey & Old Southwark who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Foodbanks....

Far and away, the biggest issue affecting foodbank use is Universal Credit,” he says.
On average, foodbanks in areas where Universal Credit has been in place for a year see a 52 per cent increase in demand, and foodbank use is up 13 per cent in areas where the new system has been rolled out for three months or less, according to the biggest foodbank charity the Trussell Trust.

Turning up and grinning is simply, well, it’s insulting,” Coyle tells me. “Turning up and being practically supportive is what foodbanks need – and trying to work out how to reduce pressure on foodbanks would be the sensible thing to do.”

The biggest single reason for a food bank referral, accounting for 31 per cent in the six months leading up to November this year, was benefits not covering living costs. More than a fifth of referrals to its foodbank network resulted from delayed benefit payments – a third of which were waiting specifically for their first Universal Credit payment.

If you’re going to engage with foodbanks in the run-up to Christmas, learn who it is they’re supporting and why,” says Coyle, who also refers to children in families that cannot claim benefits (immigration policy means “no recourse to public funds” for about 50,000 people with dependents) using foodbanks on an “almost routine” basis. “This is a direct result of government policy.

Hat tip Anoosh Chakelian

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