What drives the numbers?
An amalgamation of low pay, benefit sanctions, delays in welfare payments, the welfare cap (set to be reduced again from £26,00 – £23,000), delays in pay, zero hour contracts and much more……. All of these are persistent problems and this is among the reasons why the numbers going to food banks keeps going up. At least a report by Trussel Trust who run many of the food banks up and down the UK suggest that these are ranked at the top among the many reasons given for food bank usage.
For the sake of balance the now past Coalition government had said that an increase in advertisement and better coverage of food banks are a factor that has gone unnoticed in the figures. This they argued that it is a good thing and means the figure is just a more accurate reading of an ever present problem.
Untangling the argument:
The issue however is still a prominent and staggering rise in food bank usage which cannot be whittled away by better advertising or expanding the franchise to more areas of the UK. We need to accept that there must be something drastically wrong in an economy so rich that so many cannot afford to adequately feed themselves. Big change has to materialise in the make-up of society and its economy if the situation is to improve. The situation is expected to get worse or remain a problem of a large scale following the election, it is shocking that as opposed to action to help people away from food-banks appearing in the Queens speech on the 27th of May 2015 there is more welfare cuts and less stability at work.
Many changes are needed, changes such as better jobs in an environment that makes people feel a sense of self worth, better pay to put food on the table and to meet the ever rising rent or mortgage payment without state support and more job security to allow people to adequately budget. Changes that are paramount if we are to see a sustained move away from prolonged or temporary food bank usage. These changes sadly are all heading the wrong way, a rise in the casualisiation of the workforce, a shift to low paid and unsecured service industries and a persistent fall in trade union membership show this trend more clearly than in any time in recent history and over my lifetime if not longer.
What we know:
the news broke in April (2015) that the ‘Trussel Trust’ the largest food bank provider had dished out over 1 million, 3 day rations in the form of food parcels over the past year. Let that sink in for a second, 1 million.
The Trussell Trust said three day’s food was given out to 1,084,604, even more devastatingly 396,997 of them where children. If this is too much for you too then take demand action and spread the facts so others demand it too. How is it that in 2015 in a growing economy, in an economy known around the world for looking after its people we have chosen to allow so many people to rely on handouts.
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