The Ever Growing Foodbank Crisis
IT’S certainly true that we’re seeing more people turning up at foodbanks hoping to get some free food. And yes, we do indeed agree that most people would be somewhat embarrassed at doing so: this isn’t just people clocking on to the idea that they can get something for free.
However, there are two reasons why we might think that it’s not quite as bad as some are telling us it is. The first being that the network of food banks has been expanding quite rapidly in recent years. One of the networks of them has, just as an example, doubled in the past couple of years. Sure, we could say that this is just an expression of the increased need. But that wouldn’t be the whole story: there’s also the simple fact that more people having a food bank near where they are will increase the number of people using a food bank.
But it’s the second reason that’s rather more important here. Which is that under the last government, Brown’s, unemployment centres (whatever the hell they’re called now) and social services themselves weren’t actually allowed to make referrals to food banks. Because no one would accept the idea that the welfare system can be incompetent at handing out the money that people are entitled to. And do please note, even the food banks themselves say that twice as much of their traffic comes from people dealing with screwed up payments than it does from people being denied them under benefits changes.
We might not think of Tories (usaully rightly) of being all that caring and sharing to the unfortunate, but they did at least allow the employees of the State start making referrals to these private charities. The idea that the State could do it all was acknowledged and for that at least we can be grateful.