Food Banks – Poverty & Sensible Voting

Food Banks – Poverty & Sensible Voting

When MP Phillip Hammond – now the Chancellor of the Exchequer – said when opening a food bank in his constituency that it was a great example ” of the success of localism and the big society” – 

Remember them? 

he was clearly demonstrating 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 in 21st Britain over 1 million families are now reliant on receiving support and assistance from food banks.

The organisations say that this will rise to over one and a half million by the end of next year, 2018, as the average household now has to find an extra £950 just to maintain their standard of living at last year’s level.

The Office of National Statistics latest information that inflation rose by 1.8% in the year to January 2017 being the highest since June 2014 and the prospect that it will rise to over 3% in the next year will put additional pressure on households that already have strained budgets.

In fact inflation has already risen above 2.1%.

What is even more alarming for the families struggling to put food on the table for their families is the rise in food prices and motor fuel.

The rising number of food banks is not what those who voted for them expected or what was promised by Theresa May and her caring, sharing, “we’re all in it together Conservatives”.

For those people who are retired and on fixed incomes the rise in inflation will see their savings continue on the same trajectory of the last seven years under the Conservatives – failing to keep pace with inflation.

Anyone who doesn’t recognise this as a major concern for pensioners and those on fixed incomes are either callous or simply idiots.

How can MP’s like Amander Rudd not understand that a direct result of their policies is those who have worked hard all of their lives are now faced with increased hardship at a time when they should be enjoying the fruits of those labours.

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

On top of all of this Theresa May and her Conservatives are, if they win the election, now going to introduce a Dementia Tax penalising the elderly not only up to their death but afterwards as well.

The Conservative Government continue to peddle the myth that over 3 million people are £800 a year better off through their increase of the tax-free personal allowance.

They of course conveniently forget to mention that those same people are over £2,000 a year worse off since 2011 due to increases in VAT, inflation, the wage freeze and wage cap the Conservatives have implemented. 

Effectively working people and those who are seeking employment have now to find between £1,000 and £2,000 just to maintain their 2011 standard of living.

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

All of which means an increase in the fantastic work being carried out by those who are operating the food banks.

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

Theresa May and Phillip Hammond and the Conservatives who claim – against I might add all of the evidence including from the Office of National Statistics – that their welfare reforms have ‘improved’ the lives 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 what has turned out to be the most spiteful, cruel and callous Conservative Government in my lifetime.

We should be grateful to those groups across the United Kingdom who are administering the Food Banks but in a Country as wealthy as this we should also be ashamed that they are needed.

Of course much of this, if the British people really do have a conscience and sense of compassion and fairness can be stopped dead in its tracks and put into reverse by Voting in the General Election.

It may require a difficult political mind shift for many, especially in marginal seats where the party who are second behind the Conservatives can only be successful if the other parties supporters vote for them.

Some call it ‘tactical voting’ I see it more simply than that,

Lending your Vote to another party just for this election on June 8th – e.g Lib Democrat to Labour, Labour to Liberal Democrat – to unseat a Conservative MP and Conservative Government is I believe nothing less than “sensible voting”

If you are a Labour supporter who this time around decides to ‘Vote sensibly’ and helps to unseat a Conservative,

Students who will see tuition fees scrapped will be grateful.

Your elderly parents and grandparents who will not lose the winter fuel allowance or face the Dementia Tax will be grateful.

Young children who will continue to receive their school meals will be grateful.

If you are a Liberal Democrat supporter who this time around decides to ‘Vote sensibly’ and helps to unseat a Conservative,

People will be grateful that the NHS who will be funded to meet the need and its privatisation stopped will be grateful.

Teachers and Nurses who will see the pay cap removed will be grateful

Those who see the draconian cuts to their welfare support reversed so that food banks become a thing of the past will be grateful.

And yes I know for many it will be a difficult decision to ‘Vote’ for another party and will be against what their heart says but it will be even more difficult if the Conservatives are returned to Westminster in Government.

That’s both the joy and horror of democracy.

It is the people in the privacy of the Polling Booth, away from the media and political parties who will decide the outcome.

They then have to accept the decision.