My husband son and I often visit old churches for architectural and historical interest. In the last year or so in many churches here in the North there can be found boxes like the one above for the purpose of collecting donations for local food banks. Incidentally some of these are situated in areas that one would not generally consider deprived, such as Cartmel in the Lake district, though as my son remarked the food bank is probably in the nearby town of Ulverstan. Ullverstand however does not exactly spring to mind when you consider poverty. If people are struggling in such places what is it like in big cities I have to ask. A sad sign of the times, times we thought had been consigned to history as the present right wing government of the unelected and financially over privileged destroy our welfare system. During the last two years or so the government by means of vicious cuts to benefits have plunged the sick, disabled and the unemployed deeper and deeper into poverty with no recourse other than having to reply on the generosity of others. And one has to say such generosity is not as forthcoming as it might well have been as the government have so successfully poisoned the minds of those fortunate enough to be genuinely able to work and who have not been made unemployed, as is the case for an astonishing 2 million plus people.
Recently I received details of a campaign to ensure that children living in poverty are entitled to free school meals
The following campaign is aimed at Michael Grove to make sure 700,000 children don’t go hungry on a daily basis:
Please take the recommend action and consider the following:
According to this report too many children in the UK are going hungry:
“Many studies have shown that hunger affects concentration, and that well-nourished children fare better at school. The government has agreed to allocate money to help schools in the poorest areas establish breakfast clubs. And it has promised to look at extending free school meal entitlement, to ensure that the children of the so-called ‘working poor’ do not go hungry at lunch.
We have also recommended that free school meals should be extended to all primary school children, starting with the most deprived areas. This is the only one of our recommendations that the government has not agreed to yet. We understand that the considerable cost and the need to involve other departments make it a big ask. But we are pleased that the Secretary of State agrees with us in principle and we would urge schools and councils to consider funding universal free school meals themselves.” http://www.schoolfoodplan.com/plan/
A report has recommended that all primary children should have free school meals
“The government should introduce free school meals for all primary school pupils, starting with the most deprived areas, a report for the government on school nutrition has recommended.
Extending free school meals beyond the poorest pupils will cost around £1bn but the education secretary, Michael Gove, is understood to be supportive of the move in principle.”
Surely we have to question why children go hungry in twenty-first century Britain, the 7th richest country in the world !
It is shameful that in a rich country people including of course their children are going hungry and food banks are under enormous pressure to provide people with the basics of life, namely food. The added disgrace of allowing children to go hungry is shocking. Furthermore it is not only the “working poor” it is also people on benefits who have seen a sharp drop in their income which at a time of ever increasing price rises has left many people deprived and in poverty. I would here just like to point out the outrage of the term “working poor”, two words that should not be used in the same sentence, no one who works should be poor, each and every person regardless of their type of work should be paid a living wage. Life is precious we should not be compelled to while away our lives scrimping and scrapping to get by on wages that are exploitative and do not provide a decent standard of living not only for essentials but to ensure that everyone has a quality of life beyond the basics. Working forty or more hours each week, most people work considerably more, for a pittance and needing to go to food banks is a moral outrage while employers are laughing all the way to the bank and living life styles far in access of their needs.
Moreover no one who needs benefits by reason of disability, sickness or unemployment should have to have their already difficult lives made worse by impoverishment. Often we hear the phrase “make work pay”. People complain that those on benefits are better off than many who work. And as a solution many advocate a reduction in benefits. However this does not solve the problem of poor wages and instead plunges disadvantaged people into poverty. Think about it, if a person on a benefits has their income reduced how does this benefit the low paid? People on unliveable wages will not get any more money. Instead of thinking it right to reduce benefits to make work pay how about increasing wages to make work pay. Sadly the fact that children are suffering the consequences of welfare reform and austerity measures seems to escape the notice of those who consider that reducing benefits is the right thing to do.
It is as though we are taking steps backwards to a time that many people thought had been consigned to history! The coming changes to benefits in the autumn is of great concern to those of us who consider that everyone should have enough money for life’s essentials. One of the greatest concerns is that such changes will hit poor children in Britain hard. The very idea that here in the UK a child will be at school hungry is beyond shocking, it is inhumane and not worthy of any country that wishes to be considered as moral and socially progressive.
Children, the unemployed, the low paid and the sick and disabled are not the only people hit by a drastic reduction in living standards, many retired people living on a basic pension find themselves with less disposable income than an eleven year Old!
“Shocking research has revealed that two million pensioners have less disposable income then the average 11-year-old. The report revealed that this group has an average state and private pension bringing in £154 a week, but average living costs of £146.90. It leaves them with less ‘pocket money’ than the average 11-year-old – who is given £8 a week by their parents.
And things are getting worse.”
It is surely time to question the ethics of anyone in the 7th richest country in the world living in poverty while others have far more then they need.
Someone once said:
“I want to make sure that my Government always looks after the elderly, the frail, the poorest in our country.”
It may surprise you that that someone was David Cameron whom it now appears is hell bent on destroying our welfare system