Sunday, 20 October 2013

Red Cross to distribute food parcels to hungry Brits!

Cameron and Osborne dine out at Puccini's Pizzeria
e Ristorante, Swinton, Manchester, in September.

The international humanitarian organisation the British Red Cross, which helps people in crisis, recently announced that it plans to distribute food aid to the needy in Britain for the first time since WWII.

The number of people turning to food banks as emergency aid to feed their families, has more than tripled following the squeeze on benefits in April. The country's biggest food bank operator, the 'Trusell Trust', announced that they distributed food aid to 355,985 people, including nearly 120,000 children, between April and September compared with 113,264 during the same period in 2012. The Trust said that they had distributed more food aid to hungry Brits during those six months than in the whole of  2012. According to the Trust, increases in food and energy prices, pay freezes, the bedroom tax, cuts in council tax benefits and welfare changes in April, along with changes to the rules governing crisis loans, have all led to an increase in demand for emergency food aid. More than 650,000 people were referred to food banks over the period because of benefit changes - a fourfold increase - and another 117,000 were referred because of delays in paying their benefits.

The Trust told 'The Independent' newspaper that people using food banks, had started to return food that needed to be warmed up because they could not afford to switch on their electricity. The Trust, which operates around 400 food banks is calling for a public inquiry into the level of food poverty.

The one party state of Tameside in Greater Manchester, falls within the most deprived quartile counties of England. The fact that there will soon be at least 11 food banks, is a stark indicator of the dire financial difficulties which many people find themselves in. Members of the Tameside East Foodbank, are now a regular feature in many local supermarkets where they can be found handing out tickets asking customers to purchase items of food, such as milk, pasta sauces, tinned rice pudding, biscuits or snack bars, to help "local people in crisis."

Why so many people in Britain both in and out of work should find that they are unable to feed themselves when we live in the seventh richest nation on the planet, is absolutely diabolical and scandalous in the extreme. When people are facing homelessness and destitution in Britain due to welfare cuts and  the bedroom tax, this Tory government is far more concerned with bankers' mega-bonuses and in giving tax cuts to multi-millionaires. The taxpayer has already bailed out failing banks to the tune of £1.162 trillion.

Former Labour minister, Frank Field, who was appointed by Tony Blair to "think the unthinkable" regarding welfare reform, is now David Cameron's own Poverty Tsar. Although Labour laid the foundations for much of these Tory reforms, Field has spoken out about the danger of food banks becoming an "institutional part" of the welfare state. He told 'The Independent':

"Clearly something very serious is happening to people at the bottom of society which isn't picked up in the offical data. If you had said to me ten years ago that we would be discussing the use of food banks, I would have led you to a dark room to recover."

Although the Tory government claim that there is no robust evidence that welfare reforms are linked to the increased use of food banks and the government welfare adviser, former merchant banker, David Freud, has stated publicly that there is always infinite demand for a free good, Chris Mould, the executive chairman of the Trussell Trust, told the newspaper:

"The level of food povery in the UK is not acceptable. It's scandalous and it's causing deep distress to thousands of people. As a nation we need to accept that something is wrong and that we need to act now to stop UK hunger getting worse."

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