Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Food Banks Gear up for Christmas.

with 54 comments

Food Banks are an emotional subject.

There is no doubt that people use them out of necessity.

There is little doubt that those running them have good intentions and work hard at what they do.

But having to ask for what is not a benefit of right, but what is ultimately a favour, is not an easy thing to do.

Nor is the prospect of having to live on the basics they offer appealing.

The ‘umble classes, and this Blog, like something “tasty” from time to time.

Whether that includes a bacon sarnie, wagon-wheels, Cornish ice-cream, a massive pizza, or wild boar cooked in truffles with a bottle of SaintÉmilion (our own choice) should be up to us, not to a Food Bank.

The government’s idea of ‘Food bank jobcentres‘ is even less attractive.

Some Food Banks (see below) also have a religious element.

This seems to be the current state of play:

Trussell Trust Warns Of Record Levels Of Food Bank Demand This Christmas

Reports Welfare Weekly.

The UK’s largest foodbank charity is warning of record levels of demand over Christmas, with struggling families facing stark choices between eating and heating.

Referrals to Trussell Trust foodbanks were 53% higher in December 2014 than the average across other months, with more than 130,000 food parcels given to families and individuals in desperate need.

The charity warns that this December could see even more people forced to turn to foodbanks, as figures show that demand has increased by 14,000.

Trussell Trust handed out 506,369 food parcels between April and September 2015, compared to 492,641 over the same period in the previous year.

Each food parcel contains the equivalent of three-days worth of food and can only be received following a referral from a frontline professional, such as housing associations and children’s centres.

Trussell Trust food bank charity lands Christmas Big Lottery Fund boost but warns of record demand levels’

East Anglian Daily Times. 8th December.

The Trussell Trust has received almost £750,000 in extra funding from the Big Lottery Fund to cope with the strain, but it is concerned that its service will still be under pressure from growing numbers of people on low incomes who will face deciding between eating and heating.

The money will contribute towards services provided by its More Than Food programme, including debt advice, money management, welfare and housing advice, courses in cooking on a budget and other training, as well as emergency food.

There are three Trussell Trust food banks in the county – East Suffolk Foodbank in Lowestoft, Haverhill Foodbank and Lakenheath Foodbank.

David McAuley, chief executive of The Trussell Trust, said: “Winter is the hardest time of year for people living on the breadline; many will face stark choices between eating and heating.

“Every year we meet families who are worried about having anything to eat on Christmas Day, who have been living and sleeping in one room to keep heating costs to the absolute minimum

“Food bank use is likely to rise significantly over the winter months and we’re anticipating that it could peak at the highest level yet this Christmas.

“Increasingly, Trussell Trust food banks are able to provide additional support services to help resolve some the underlying causes of food bank use, and this will be especially impactful over the winter months.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for their generous support in enabling food banks to help families and individuals at the point of crisis to get back onto their feet more quickly. The funding couldn’t come at a better time.”

Nationally, between April and September this year, Trussell food banks gave out 506,369 emergency three-day food supplies, compared to 492,641 in the same period last year. December 2014 in particular saw an average increase of more than 50% in referrals to food banks compared with other months.

Food Banks  in East Suffolk. and  Ipswich (FIND is a Christian-based registered charity that was founded in 1990 to provide emergency assistance to families or individuals affected by poverty or dispossession.)

In our view too many people who should be supported by our social security system are being let down by it – with delays in benefit payments, debt, unfair benefits sanctions and the bedroom tax pushing people to the doors of food banks.

Charity is no substitute for benefits: depending on the good will of people to help is not the same as having a right to a basic minimum standard of living.

Above all, food. 


Written by Andrew Coates

December 9, 2015 at 5:14 pm

54 Responses

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  1. The Government idea of food banks /job centres, we all know why don’t we, there would need to someone like us to be in every food bank also. (Ill continue in the local one)

    The local food bank of course is getting very busy. as young as 18 to 50’s at the moment, we know we’ll soon see pensioners.


    December 9, 2015 at 6:03 pm

  2. The Archbishop of Canterbury has accused the Government of leaving families vulnerable to hunger and poverty because of controversial welfare reform.

    Justin Welby described it as a ‘tragedy’ that families still face hunger in the 21st Century but credited food banks with “striving to make life bearable for people who are going hungry”.

    He also highlighted the financial penalties imposed by jobcentres, which he claimed left vulnerable claimants without money for food for weeks on end.

    Mr Welby also warned against a political debate that was increasingly judgmental of benefit claimants, saying it should be a national belief that “we are one people with care for all”.



    December 10, 2015 at 9:40 am

    • It’s not. Just about food though is it? My union Unite asks us to donate a food item a week to the food banks, or drop it at the unite office, I drop 4 things a month to save my legs but I also add things like loo roll and sanitary ware, tampons ect after I read that a woman asked if her foodbanks gave them out as she had been. Forced to use newspaper! That really upset me! How humiliating for her and imagine if she’d secured a job interview and had to go in rustling newspaper! How these MPS can live with themselves!?


      December 10, 2015 at 11:22 am

      • Kat:

        You ask, how can we live with ourselves? It’s quite easy, lovey. We don’t have to rub shoulders with you at a foodbank, or God forbid, Aldi.

        Now get thee to a foodbank, now!


        December 10, 2015 at 7:42 pm

      • Mp.. Nose back in trough please!! I’ve been through the system. When I worked 5 hours a week I was threatened with a sanctions..
        For asking to have a review re scheduled for a time I wouldn’t be. AT WORK!!
        Weird system is this


        December 11, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    • It warns that universal credit, which will eventually replace several existing social security benefits, is likely to drive up food bank use because it there is a long “built-in” 42-day waiting period before new claimants receive payment. One food bank cited in the report says this formalised delay “seems to accept the existence of food banks as a safety net”.



      December 10, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    • Interesting comment from a Daily Mail reader on the Sports Direct story:

      “In the space of about 35 years we’ve gone from unions having too much power to being pretty much toothless entities. The result is people being forced to work in jobs on insecure contracts [zero Hours contracts in this case], in bad conditions and on poor pay, with nobody to act in their best interests to improve things”.

      Or as I would put it myself, the linesman’s flag is up ok, but where is the referee to stop this foul play?


      December 10, 2015 at 9:55 am

  3. Tobanem

    December 10, 2015 at 9:42 am

    • The new move has already been criticised by John Healey, Labour’s shadow cabinet minister for housing, who said people would be “astonished that ministers are legislating to deny families a stable home”.

      “Councils are already able to decide on the length of tenancy they want to offer according to local needs,” he said. “Margaret Thatcher passed the law to give council tenants secure tenancies which David Cameron is now tearing up. This generation of Tory ministers seem to have a vendetta against council tenants and council homes.”

      The Ghost of Maggie Thatcher

      December 10, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    • They hate council tenants – it’s as simple as that.

      In Ipswich a new council house development has been halted by (initially when Pickles was the fat bastard in charge of these things), at the behest of the local Tory MP, Ben Gummer, afetr a campaign by people against having ‘council’ tenants near to them.

      If it was against people of another ethnic group their campaign would have prosecuted by inciting race hate.

      They hate council tenants – it’s as…..

      Andrew Coates

      December 10, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      • Oxford City Council has broken a law against housing homeless families in B&Bs for more than six weeks.

        The local authority said this was due to an “unexpectedly high number” of homeless families in September and high rents charged by private landlords.

        Since April, the authority has recorded 128? homeless families, compared to 107 for all of last year.

        A council report said it was now “almost impossible” to find properties in the privately-rented sector affordable at housing benefit levels.



        December 11, 2015 at 7:40 am

      • Sanctions are forcing more and more people to homelessness.

        The study, based on research from Sheffield Hallam University, claims that 21% of people sanctioned in the last year became homeless as a result.

        In addition, 16% of those sanctioned were forced to sleep rough.



        December 11, 2015 at 8:03 am

      • Conservative minister says ending lifetime council tenancies will ‘help social mobility’

        Labour MPs attack government for sneaking in changes which will cause insecurity as housing minister Marcus Jones says tenants will benefit.

        A Conservative minister has claimed council tenants may benefit from losing the right to live in their home for life because they might not have thought about buying their own property before.

        Marcus Jones, a housing minister, said the new five-year limit on council tenancies would encourage people to own their properties.



        December 11, 2015 at 12:01 pm

  4. !

    December 10, 2015 at 10:17 am

    • The caption reads: “Of course, constable. Tyson Fury will be delighted to discuss hate crime with you – step into the ring.’


      December 10, 2015 at 10:19 am

  5. From today’s Daily Heil:

    Is food bank boom over as demand finally eases? Higher employment and stricter controls on who receives vouchers thought to be responsible for usage levelling off.


    jj joop

    December 10, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    • Report by MPs and peers reveals demand for food banks is levelling off

      Higher employment and stricter controls on vouchers thought to be reason

      The document appears to mark a halt to the rapid expansion of food banks

      Over 5 years one group recorded 20-fold rise in number of parcels it gave

      jj joop

      December 10, 2015 at 12:26 pm

  6. DWP – Jobcentre – Food Bank Christmas Carol Songs.

    Decks The Halls With Lots Of G4S.
    Sanction Bells.
    The Good King IDS.
    All I Want For Christmas Is A Sanction.
    Away In A Sanction.
    Ding Dong Merrily On Food Banks.
    God Rest Ye Merry DWP Deaths.
    Hark The Herald Angels Sing On A 35 Hour A Week Job Search.
    O Little Town Of Rocket Bunkers.
    Silent DWP.
    While IDS Watched Their Flocks.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    December 10, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    • Very funny, but spot on!

      jj joop

      December 10, 2015 at 7:36 pm

  7. It appears that once again so call work coaches’ are trying to push people on to Employment Support Allowance,more also they seem to imply that being out of work is in fact an illness.

    This government is weak opportunist and increasingly desperate.


    December 10, 2015 at 10:44 pm


    IDS has been reprimanded by the SNP about discriminating against disabled people in relation to the benefit cap.



    December 11, 2015 at 9:35 am

    • Does he do what he’s told?


      December 11, 2015 at 11:21 am

  9. Man released from prison swore at Ipswich job centre manager over benefits, court told.

    10 th of December 2015 Colin Adwent

    Man swore at Job Centre staff over benefit payments

    A 46-year-old man has admitted threatening behaviour towards the assistant manager of a job centre.

    Bevan Ash, of Black Horse Lane, Ipswich, pleaded guilty when he appeared before South East Suffolk Magistrates Court.

    The incident occurred on September 23.

    Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said Ash had an appointment at the job centre at St Phoenix House in Ipswich.

    As the assistant manager was explaining to Ash about filling in some forms in relation to his benefits he became angry and began swearing at her.

    Mr Ablett said Ash had been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment last year for supplying heroin and crack cocaine.

    Ash, representing himself, said he had become frustrated because at the time his benefits had not restarted following his release from prison.

    He said he knew he had “kicked off”, but could not remember why.

    Ash told the court he had been waiting for six weeks for his benefits to restart and that he had been sleeping on the streets.

    Magistrates were told it was the stress of not being able to get his money that led to him getting upset.

    Ash was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay the assistant manager £30 in compensation.

    He must also pay a £150 criminal courts charge.

    Thanks to “a reader”.


    Andrew Coates

    December 11, 2015 at 6:06 pm

  10. Peoples experience its the other way around,perhaps the Magistrates should have referred to this.


    Theres clearly a policy to to “agitate” and “Inconvenience” customers.This given in a testimony.

    It looks like another case of frustration,an honest person holding his hands up at this departments corrupt unlawful policy.Despite all this,the DWP prefer to keep a tight lid on this practice(perhaps unsurprisingly) in the jobcentre the aim is not go to appeals or take it one step further just to intimidate claiments off the register by any means.Misconduct in public office appears rife.

    The best way to deal with this is video/audio sound devices,used in evidence they are offer real clout,impossible to contradict in court and can bring an abrupt halt to a case and always have the potential to grab headlines something they dont want.Hence the term “bought off at the court doors”.


    December 11, 2015 at 8:22 pm

  11. ken

    December 11, 2015 at 8:27 pm

  12. Homelessness and Rough Sleeping statistics. thanks to the void.

    We are currently assessing the extent to which the following statistics produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) meet the professional standards set out in the statutory Code of Practice for Official Statistics.


    In a few years there will no doubt be hundreds of thousands of homeless people and soon to be millions.


    December 11, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    • Enigma hi how is it at your foodbank at the moment in the run up to Xmas?


      December 12, 2015 at 11:39 am

      • Kat, it’s getting very busy, the food bank is open just 4 days per week at the moment, and is the only one in town, it won’t be long until it is open 5, 6 or 7 days per week with the amount of people coming through the door, many people in the food bank last week were in there because they had just signed up to UC and won’t receive a payment until 20th of Jan. the food bank isn’t getting busy just because it’s xmas though, we all know food banks are going to get busier as time goes on.


        December 12, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      • There’s probably food banks in the schools around here as there are in other schools, as you know.


        December 12, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      • More bad news for parents, but this time for Nurseries.

        Nurseries warn that the national living wage will push up fees.

        Nursery employers have ‘major concerns’ over the need to increase fees for parents in order to pay staff the National Living Wage, a report by Christie + Co reveals.

        From April 2016, employers will be required by law to pay their workers aged 25 and above the National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour. According to the report by the specialist property adviser, Is the National Living Wage Creating National Living Rage? – The perspective from UK Businesses, the childcare sector’s primary concerns are that increased wage costs will be ‘reluctantly, but inevitably, passed on to parents through fee increases’.



        December 12, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      • Another food bank opens.

        Merseyside Youth Association says service in Liverpool helps 16- to 25-year-olds who are going hungry but feel uneasy about visiting other food banks.



        December 12, 2015 at 3:48 pm

  13. More from the Tories little red book.

    Is this how Cameron has exerted his power – using Mark Clarke to remove potential threats?

    Walker, who had an ambition to become chairman of the Tory Party’s youth wing, had Tweeted that he had seen some “food bank users” in the pubs of Witney,



    December 12, 2015 at 2:15 pm

  14. OT: Health & Work Programme

    Hat tip to Refutted

    it appears the would be providers are upset at the 80 percent cut:



    December 12, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    • Yep, now they are complaining because they know they will be paid less just like the majority of people who are working for less, what a shame – not. we can expect volunteers to be taking on all those programmes.


      December 12, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    • Oh deary me. What a bummer!

      jj joop

      December 12, 2015 at 3:59 pm

  15. OT: Universal Credit ‘In Work Conditionality’

    Hat Tip to unemploymentmovement & user terratech

    “Universal Credit is a totally integrated system with the tax system!

    Q: Would there be some sort of penalty for not telling the DWP who my new employer is?
    A: Because its totally integrated they know when you have moved onto work….

    Q: Would the DWP remain in contact with my new employer?
    A: Simple answer is Yes! they are required by law now…..

    Q: Would my new employer be obliged to report details of my earnings, to the DWP?
    A: Exactly! no escaping the clutches of the Tax Office & DWP

    Q: In what way would I still be involved with the DWP?
    A: None, the only time you would be involved is if your earning dropped below a certain level….

    Q: Would my best option be to just stop turning up to sign after I start a job? Would the DWP investigate why this was?
    A: Pretty pointless question as I said the the Tax Office through your National Insurance would start recording that your earning and as the two departments are already connected and have been for some time, all they would have to do is look up your national insurance number.”

    As another user pointed out: Big Brother is here… and NOT in a good way


    December 12, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    • Hey Gazza:

      How are you getting on with those CWP bastards?

      jj joop

      December 12, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      • JJ Joop

        Things [Not good for me at ths time approaching XMas] are not good. Being forced due to zilch money to walk 4 miles a day with my family concerned at the effect its having on my current health conditions – Bastard had the temerity of asking if I was Mentally ill to see if I would Spark off [thank god I am recording this shit] – was clearly setting up to impose a second Sanction.

        Has continuously refused to explain what regulation he’s acting under vis a vis my evidence, or to explain in writing the same. So at the end dropped SAR in aid of Disability Discrimination on them & the missing DMs decision which no one is prepared to print off and give to me in office – suddenly all helpful, saw him have conference with Section Head and other manager. As its Discrimination [But is it the right one? But never mind for NOW… it’ll get me what I want which is all the documentation since June – he confirmed all papers except CV is there – strange how two copies have gone missing.] Oh and he again continously refused to accept the SAR request… Right up till I pointed out it was to do with Disablity Disctrimination, I just insisted he put it with the other papers. He wasn’t happy. Made out he was looking for the SAR form and couldn’t find it.

        Further important information for all others: If disabled just tasking for a SAR is covered by DWP’s own guidance – just asking is enough, but I was refused…. See:


        Strange that. Oh and the DMs Decision? Apparently its on a second seperate system and must ALWAYS come from said DM. So if DM goes missing no Decision is available? Or system Goes down the same? People are lying through their teeth. Intend to visit CAB next week and confirm that decision can be printed off there and if so its time after Lawyering up via Civil Advice Line [that will be monday] to call in the Police.

        Next week will be fun on the CWP front as there’s no high back chair – it will be interesting to see if they are willing to pay for the new chair – I suspect not quote was “Just take a break”. Pointed out breaches Equality Act – they’re not happy. If reasonable adjustments are not made would be within my rights to not attend for health reasons. I know about that as Civil Service union was so crap I ended up having to give advice to staff. Jokes.


        December 12, 2015 at 6:56 pm

      • Gazza:

        Sounds like you’re really being messed about by a practised bully, i.e. a functioning psychopath. I had a coach like that. Mine chose early retirement earlier this year, thank fuck.

        Hang on in there, mate.

        jj joop

        December 13, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      • My current coach is a decent guy. Plays by the rules and doesn’t hide behind his job title and use it as a vehicle to bully me, or others. If only they were all like that, eh.

        jj joop

        December 13, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      • jj joop

        Like you I had a vile work roach. He was a swaggering bully with a threatening attitude about him. You could tell he was trouble the minute you looked at him. He was the most obnoxious bureaucrat type that I had ever met. He was always trying to sanction everybody for any reason and he was the type of scumbag who should have been disembowelled alive or slowly boiled alive or, if possible, both at the sane time. I knew he was going to retire at the end of this year, but a few months ago he told me that he was going to retire immediately. I asked him if he was taking voluntary redundancy but he said his request to do so had been refused. He claimed he was retiring because he didn’t like the changes that were coming, lol. I pointed out that everybody was glad to see him go and that was putting it politely. He replied that I was the most polite claimant that he had ever dealt with. What he didn’t know was that I was polite because I was recording every conversation we ever had so that I could get an accurate recording. I was however the most difficult claimant that he had ever had, because I knew all the rules, regulations, legislation, etc. His reply was that if I had spent more time looking for work and less time on this rubbish (his actual words) I would have been in work long ago. Oh, and he said he had been in the job for 30 years not even trying for promotion. Since then I have just been signing on and the guy I dealt with treated me with politeness coming over to where I sat, addressing me by name and asking if I would like to come over. Unfortunately he’s left and I don’t know what’s going to happen next year.


        December 14, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      • Ben:

        Like me, I think you were probably a victim of the much hyped, but failed, hit squads. When they realise they can’t wear you down, they will eventually back off.

        Soon it will be the new Health and Work Programme. Hmm…we shall just have to wait and see what happens.

        jj joop

        December 14, 2015 at 3:47 pm



      Before we can match you with the right job, MAXIMUS Employment Consultants take the time to get to know you. We then help you build upon your strengths and capabilities, providing the support and resources you need to secure meaningful, long-term work.

      Your journey towards economic independence begins with a one-to-one interview with a MAXIMUS Employment Consultant. During this interview, we help you create a customised Action Plan that will guide you in your search for employment. With a plan in place, we then provide you with tailored activities designed to help prepare you for work. We also provide you with the support and resources you need to achieve your goals. Key support services we offer include:
      •Help preparing your CV and writing cover letters
      •Training in a number of critical areas, including: ◦Interview skills
      ◦Basic skills and budgeting
      ◦Vocational skills

      •Assistance with benefits, including: ◦Help understanding the positive effect work will have on your income through the use of a “Better Off Calculation”
      ◦Help understanding how your benefits will change once you return to work
      ◦Vocational skills

      •Confidence, motivation and time-management workshops
      •Signposting and referrals to local community organisations to help you address any mental health, physical or substance misuse issues you may have
      •Links to appropriate housing bodies


      Maximus even help you to become homeless & then try & get you advice from housing bodies.


      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      December 12, 2015 at 4:24 pm


        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        December 12, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      • Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        December 12, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      • Lots of help from Maximus then I see, I look forward to it!!


        December 12, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      • They bailed out of this area because they wern’t making any money and moved to a town which has better employment prospects and people could find work themselves anyway,leaving those they were supposed to be helping without any support or help.


        December 12, 2015 at 9:36 pm

  16. The ESA Terms & Conditions mean ESA is a employment figure. ESA form aka Maximus form not a DWP form. All employed by Maximus on the books as customers, off the books as a employment figure in work.

    DWP you don`t control the ESA bogus form or the WCA but DWP you are responsible for all of these points I have just brought up.

    Work Pays – Contradictions Work


    The laws have not changed on that one. The DWP can only get the £73 lower by sanctions which are illegal & make the new contract null & void from signing the new contract called ESA bogus form. Need a poll & a questionnaire !!!!

    It`s a shame IDS my mind does not need a committee meeting, so I operation a lot faster at every stage of cementing a contradiction to be Not Fit For Purpose – The Non Paper Not Worth The Non Paper It`s Written On – Null & Void.

    FOI Request — Don`t need an answer but gets the DWP worried

    Since the WCA are insurance ideas, What part of the WCA has anything to do with a medical condition & helping that medical condition rather than an insurance cash cow that cures illnesses running an insurance scam !!!

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    December 12, 2015 at 4:22 pm

  17. Will we all be given vouchers instead of cash.

    DWP moves to slash number of PIP awards by 35% – vouchers may replace some payments .

    The DWP has today launched a consultation aimed at slashing the number of people eligible for the daily living component of personal independence payment (PIP) by up to 35%. The cuts will be aimed at claimants who qualify for PIP because of their use of aids and appliances and may include replacing awards with discretionary voucher payments.

    The press release and consultation document published today claim that 35% of all daily living allowance awards are based solely on the claimant’s need to use aids and appliances.



    December 12, 2015 at 6:32 pm

  18. OT: Future Job Losses via Automation?


    Warning: American Centric site, take that into account when reading views and slant on story.

    Billionaire Says Tech Will Kill White-Collar Jobs so he gathers rich and powerful at Palm Beach resort to talk about it

    [What does not inspire confidence in whatever conclusions are made is the fact Blair attended to give a talk]

    The reason I am highlighting this is One commentator said:
    “Mortgage brokers, real estate agents, bankers, accountants…most of these are at risk of automation replacement within the next ten years”


    December 12, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    • I was thinking about real estate agents the past few days while walking passed them, empty of buyers, most people won’t be able to buy any kind of property in the very near future, with the amount of job lay off’s and we know it will only continue, there isn’t a day when people are not being laid off, somewhere.

      What will humans being doing.


      December 12, 2015 at 11:48 pm

  19. Reblogged this on michaelsnaith.


    October 27, 2016 at 3:17 pm

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