Food Banks and Poverty

Food banks and poverty are a sympton of democratic failure
Food banks and poverty are a symptom of democratic failure

Food Banks and Poverty

When the Conservative Minister Phil Hammond MP said when opening a food bank in his constituency that it was a great example ” of the success of localism and the big society” he was clearly demonstrating his total ignorance of the impact of his Governments failing economic policies.

Recent data from well-respected organisations such as Oxfam, the Salvation Army and the Church Action on Poverty shows that now, in 21st Britain over 350,000 families are reliant of receiving support and assistance from food banks.

The organisations say that this will rise to over half a million by the end of next year as the average household now has to find an extra £678 just to maintain their standard of living at last year’s level.

The recent information from the Office of National Statistics that inflation rose by 2.7% in May against 2.4% in April and the prospect that it will rise to over 3% in the next few months will put additional pressure on households that already have strained budgets.

Rising number of food banks is not what society expected from the Big Society
Rising number of food banks is not what society expected from the Big Society

For those who are retired and on fixed incomes the rise in inflation which will see their savings continuing to fail to keep pace with inflation is a major concern and quite simply means that those who have worked hard are now facing increased hardship.

Savings accounts including ISA are now at a level that is the worst it has ever been which means savings are gradually being eroded away and in the case of millions of pensioners is having to be used to provide basic living.

The Conservative – Lib Dem coalition Government continue to peddle the myth that by increasing the tax-free personal allowance to £10,000 has left 2.7 million people £700 a year better off whilst conveniently forgetting to mention that those same people are £1,600 a year worse off since 2011.

Effectively hard-working people and those who are seeking employment have now to find between £700 and £1,600 just to maintain their 2011 standard of living.

Worse still with inflation exceeding 3% towards the end of summer will see hard hit families having to find more money for their children’s return to school and increased cost of clothing,  increased tuition fees for those going to University and the higher than inflation increase in gas, electricity and water.

All of which means that the increase on the fantastic work being carried out by those who are operating the food banks will inevitably increase.

The question for those of us who are fortunate enough not to be in such a position is who do you believe?

Ian Duncan Smith and spokespeople from the Department of Works and Pensions claim that the welfare reforms will ‘improve’ the lives of ‘some’ of the poorest families in our communities”.

Contrast that with the statement from Oxfam that ” cuts in social care has gone too far, leading to destitution, hardship and hunger” or the,

Church Action on Poverty who have said that ” the safety net that was there to protect people is being eroded to such an extent that we are seeing a rise in hunger. Food banks are not designed to, and should not, replace the ‘normal’ safety net provided by the state in the form of welfare support”

I know who I believe and it certainly for the avoidance of any doubt isn’t anyone connected with the Conservative – Lib Dem coalition.

We should be grateful to those groups in Northampton who are administering the eight food banks which are listed below,

Abington Vale United Reform Church
Central Vineyard Nene Enterprise Centre, Freehold Street
New2 YouShop, Kings Heath
Emmanuel Church Weston Favell Centre
St Peters & St Paul’s Church
St Albans Church
Duston United Reformed Church
Victory Bible Church Far Cotton REC Centre

What is also necessary of course is not only for the organisations to be recognised but even more importantly to actively support them if we really do care about those who are struggling to make end meet.