Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Food Banks, Panorama and Currie.

with 14 comments

The BBC programme on Food Banks did not exactly break new ground except in this respect.

“Almost £3m of public money is being used to help tackle food poverty, BBC Panorama has discovered.

A third of all councils in England and Wales said they had subsidised food banks.”

This us lot already knew,

Policy Exchange reported that a high number of people who break their job search conditions for the first time get their benefits mistakenly taken away from them, and face undue financial hardship as a result.

Jobseekers can lose up to four weeks’ worth of money if they do not adhere to certain regular benefit requirements, such as attending interviews.

The author of the think tank’s report, Guy Miscampbell, said: “It is clear there are a significant number of people who have their benefit taken away from them unfairly. Four weeks without any money is driving people to desperate measures including a reliance on food banks.”

“Issuing first time offenders, who may or may not have been fairly sanctioned, with a ‘yellow card’ in the form of a benefits card would be a more compassionate way of trying to help people back into work.”

I was struck  by an Evangelical Christian busy opening up food banks to further his religious agenda.

He was interested in changing people’s “lives”. He was prepared to be a Nosey Parker and begin by looking at their bank accounts.

No doubt you have to say a polite thank you to those bestowing such charity.

This commentary is worth looking at (Hat-tip: Obi).

Words you thought you’d never write: I am in agreement with Edwina Currie. Ok, I exaggerate. But she did say the following words on Monday night’s Panorama documentary, Hungry Britain:

[Foodbanks are] a bit of a trap. For me this is not a solution

We disagree on what the trap is, or who is being trapped and why. But she is right about food banks not being a solution for hunger, except in the most short-term of emergency situations. Look! I just agreed with Edwina Currie (sort of). More of that later.

Me and Edwina are definitely poles apart on the matter of food poverty, however. With the ennui of someone for whom factual evidence is clearly a troublesome irritant, she declared that food poverty simply did not exist. “It’s about choices”, she said.

What she meant was that she believed poor people had enough money, they just spent it on fags and booze and getting into debt with loan sharks. There’d be no problem if only the poor pulled their socks up and prioritised food instead, she said, just as we all did in the Old Days (When were these Old Days exactly? Has she read Road to Wigan Pier?). It was perhaps just as well she didn’t meet Steve from Bristol, who hadn’t eaten properly for five days and finally went to the food bank when he realised he had £2.75 to live on for a fortnight.

Edwina visited a food bank – though she did look very uncomfortable, as if a piece of hard evidence might leap at out at her at any moment. She disdainfully picked up a bag of crisps from the food bank larder, appalled that poor people would be given something as scrummy and calorific as potato chips. Luxury! she seemed to be saying: how will they ever learn to take responsibility if we give them free crisps!

Poor old Edwina.

Perhaps she could meet up with Evangelicals and make sure only the deserving poor get help.


Written by Andrew Coates

March 5, 2014 at 11:17 am

14 Responses

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  1. But food banks themselves agree they aren’t intended to be the solution. This was never meant to happen. What Currie fails to accept is that it is her fellow tories, her government, that has allowed this to be the case. IDS is happy to let foodbanks replace the welfare state which places them under a burden they were neveer intended to bear, nor are equipped to carry. 3 days worth of food is clearly not a solution for 4weeks (and longer) of penury.

    ghost whistler

    March 5, 2014 at 11:39 am

  2. I haven’t been forced to go to a food bank yet although I have been grateful for the lovely friends and family who help me out and invite me round to eat. I’d like to point out to dear Edwina that I do not smoke only drink occasionally and then the drink is a present or supplied at a family gathering. I do not have a huge modern TV. make most of my own clothes, usually from material given to me or purchased from a charity shop or make do and mend! Go to the shops at unsociable hours to get reduced food coming off date! Even after all this I have often been frozen this winter as I’m trying to keep the utility bills to a level I can pay I cut down on anything I can to scrape through and keep my head above water.
    I feel great sadness for those who have no family or friends in a position to help them and watching that stupid crass woman who’s no idea how some people live today; Made me want to SCREAM

    Carol Joyce

    March 5, 2014 at 12:45 pm

  3. “A third of all councils in England and Wales said they had subsidised food banks.”

    Some of those councils are going to stop subsidising food banks due to ConDem cutbacks to councils!.



    March 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    • That is apparently what is likely to happen in Suffolk.

      The County Council gave something like £42,000 last year to Food Banks.

      This looks at risk this year.

      Andrew Coates

      March 6, 2014 at 10:38 am

  4. It is truly dire when people have to talk about getting food as real problem.

    Andrew Coates

    March 5, 2014 at 5:31 pm

  5. Revealed: the truth behind the great European food bank fund betrayal.

    Ministers assert the right of the British poor to go hungry.

    The European parliament voted on a fund to provide food aid to those suffering extreme poverty. But, despite entreaties from those who administer food banks here, our government decided to opt out.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    March 5, 2014 at 7:38 pm

  6. Universal Jobmatch being hauled over the coals again tonight..… 🙂

    Job Snow (Channel 4 News)

    March 5, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    • Freudian slip, Jon?… or is is because ‘n’ is next to be ‘b’ on a keyboard lol 🙂

      Krishnan Guru-Murthy

      March 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm

  7. I’ve not seen it, but giving Evangelical Christians access to see your bank account use? WTF!

    Oh, you bought porn? You evil pervert, nothing for you. You are a single parent getting (irregular) maintenance payments from the other parent? You should not have separated, should have been in a proper relationship with them, should not have used IVF or surrogacy or co-parenting schemes, or should get in a relationship with someone else so there are 2 adults in a couple because only couples are Normal. No help. You have a disability, had a child with a disability, or had the ‘selfishness’ to be disabled and have a disabled OR ablebodied child? Nothing for you. Mixed race or a child of unmarried parents (product of sin! stay away from our nice white church!); or in a relationship with someone of another ethnic group or religion? You satanic scum, no food. Atheist? Only when you convert to Christianity and repent, will you be eligible for your one packet of stale crisps. Want more food? You’re greedy, go and freeze to death more quietly. sex worker? Go away!
    Homeless? Sinner! Substance user? it’s all your fault! Christian of another denomination? Sorry to have to break it to you, but you’re going to HELL! And don’t you dare have a blended family with kids of multiple parents! That’s just wrong! Into alternative religions? You are with Satan so no food for you!

    Okay, next! Right…. You’ve come to the food bank because you have a fulltime job (good) and live in a half-decent area (good), but you don’t earn enough to have enough to live on. You are in a stable relationship in a married couple, and you actually go to church. Your kids are never in trouble at school, with the police, or with drugs. Excellent, that sounds wonderful so far. We want stable white married couples with well-behaved kids, who are godfearing and working (paid). Right, before we hand over your Rations/Food Parcel, there’s just one thing we need. We need to see both of you. Bring your partner in next week, and after we meet him we’ll decide whether or not to feed you.
    [A week later] oh my god it’s a fucking lesbian couple! send in the exorcists!!!!!!!!

    something survived...

    March 5, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    • Yeah, imagining having to produce your bank statements for a couple of cans of Asbo value smart price beans from the fookbank wtf!…. we almost chocked on our lobster thermador when we heard that.

      The Couch Potatoes

      March 5, 2014 at 8:09 pm


    Wednesday 5 March 2014.

    Government’s Universal Jobmatch website ‘bedevilled with fraud’.

    A third of a million job vacancies advertised on the government’s official website for jobseekers are suspected of being bogus, falsely promoted or against the rules, documents seen by the Guardian show.

    Frank Field MP says many jobseekers have been robbed of large sums of money by a sham company that advertised fake jobs and actually conducted bogus interviews inside a jobcentre.

    In a letter to Field, the Department for Work and Pensions revealed that more than 352,659 job adverts might be in breach of the Universal Jobmatch website’s terms and conditions.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    March 5, 2014 at 8:06 pm

  9. Another “Benefits Street” reality programme on the way from the BBC:


    This time, “celebrities” including the journalist sister of Boris Johnson, along with an EastEnders actress, will go and live among the poor and report their findings.

    I wonder how much “reality” will emerge?


    March 6, 2014 at 10:08 am

    • Jemima and Tarquin go on a poverty safari. Whatever next!

      jj joop

      March 6, 2014 at 12:34 pm

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