Sunday 6 October 2013

Tory Slates Use of Food-Banks By Starving

Last week a headline in Manchester's local newspaper, Manchester Evening News (M.E.N.), read:

Tory MP: Food banks could make people too reliant on handouts

I have interspersed some of quotations from the article with my own commentary.

[Image description: Paul Maynard by Blackpool tower; courtesy Wikipedia {{subst:npd}}] 

"Paul Maynard, who works for Minister of State Oliver Letwin, said people could start going to food banks out of habit rather than helping themselves." 
Emergency food parcels should not be given to people – because they could get too reliant on handouts, a Tory MP has said.

This is total balderdash, individuals referred to a food-bank may only do so three times using vouchers given to them by a social worker, a GP (family doctor), a CAB (Citizens' Advice Bureau) adviser or a head-teacher (school principal). They cannot return to the same food-bank. Given most areas only have one food-bank, it is difficult to see how any but a tiny minority would be able to form a habit. Three visits certainly does not constitute a behavioural norm nor does it indicate dependence. According to the Trussell Trust, the UK's main food-bank provider, the main reason for folk needing food assistance is due to governmental delays in processing benefits to which the individuals are fully entitled. In a sense, for very many folk, it is the Government who are actually creating the circumstances that force them to use the very food-banks the so-called Honourable Member seeks to castigate.

"Mr Maynard, who has some of the country’s most deprived wards in his own constituency [Blackpool North & Cleveleys], said: “I value personal responsibility. 
I do not believe that immediate food relief should be the role of the government. We can’t make food banks part of the welfare state. 
What I don’t want to do is normalise food poverty."

I wrote and submitted a comment that was accepted and now appears below the article:

"Under Britain's UN obligations the State is obliged to ensure food security for all its citizens. It is currently in breach of those obligations in a similar way as it is in breach of housing obligations, as recently exposed by a UN rapporteur. 
The so-called party of law & order seems to only want to follow the legal requirements that suit; hardly an exemplar to its citizens!"

The news item continued:

"But charities hit back, saying they had been left to face a huge number of people going hungry because of changes to welfare payments." 
"Representatives from debt advice charities and food-growing schemes said they feared the bedroom tax had left people too poor to eat…" 
And "the Poverty Commission warn[s] 1.6m people across the region are in danger of sliding into severe poverty."

Alas there are gullible and uninformed individuals who actually believe much of the rhetoric and polemic spouted by Maynard and others within the ConDem administration and the main-stream media (MSM). One such chap stated about the MP's comments:

"What he says is right, what do these "customers" spend the benefits they get on? Yes there are essential fuel costs but it's sometimes a lifestyle choice, ie have takeaway/supermarket prepacked meals v the cheaper make it yourself meals."(sic)

I felt obliged to stand up for folk…

"In response to James Wales (8.32): many disabled & elderly have to buy pre-packed meals; some due to physical inability to cook (arthritis/pain/spasms/shakes/weakness/etc.); some because they only get 15mins from social care to prepare & cook a meal as well as any other assistance that is required."

I am part of the WoW campaign which is trying to raise awareness of the difficulties, stress and unfortunately tragedies that have been and will continue to be caused by the so-called 'welfare reforms'. If the reader would like to help, please add your signature to the WoWpetition.

Oh, and by the by, this IS the Member of Parliament who described we disabled campaigners as "extremists" putting us on a par with terrorists. Though he did later apologise and attempt to retract the statement.

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