Reasons Not to Vote Tory: The Rise of Food Banks

During the lead up to the next election here in the UK I am going to include a series of entries under the simple heading: Reasons Not to Vote Tory. These periodic postings will as the title suggests concern the many reasons why we should not vote conservative in the next election. Each post will centre on one issue.  Today’s post looks at the dramatic rise in the use of food banks as a result of welfare reforms implemented by the Troy’s aided and abetted by their coalition partners the Liberal Democrats. The term aided and abetted, usually used to refer to someone who aids or abets in the commission of a crime, is not inappropriate in this case,  for surely it is a crime for any country that has the means to feed its population to allow its citizens to go without food and in some cases starve to death.

The rise of Food banks as a result of Tory welfare reforms

The prediction made in this video has almost been realised as nearly one million people have been forced to use food banks.

The graph below shows the sharp rise in the use of food banks since the coalition government came into power in 2010. The chart shows statistics from 2005 to 2013. Since than the use of food banks continues to increase and the number is now almost one million and will continue to rise unless some action is taken to stem the tide of ever more punitive welfare reforms, low wages and rising prices.

Food-banks-graph-2013

Certainly there should not have been any need for food banks before this time but the rapid rise is due to austerity measures most particularly benefit reforms implemented by the present government.

This chart shows the primary referral causes in 2013 – 2014 to Trussell Trust Food Banks

referral-causes

View the full chart:
http://www.trusselltrust.org/stats

It is nothing short of a bloody disgrace that in the seventh richest country in the world people are going hungry, even starving to death.

Shocking Facts

One in five people live below the poverty-line.

Life expectancy here in the UK is lower than in some developing countries.

People in work need food banks as a result of low wages and zero hours.

People turn to food banks as a result of welfare reforms such as cuts to benefits and sanctions which in some cases leave people with no income.

Read the shocking report below the Breadline:
http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/below-the-breadline-the-relentless-rise-of-food-poverty-in-britain-317730

According to the Sky Video above food banks only issue three vouchers in six months for three days of food, I have to ask: what the hell do you do when you have used up your allocated three days, three times every six months, starve, steal or go begging?

Here are reasons cited by Oxfam for the rise in food banks since the coalition came into
power -yes that right, Oxfam the charity most of us associate with helping starving people in “developing countries” not in wealthy UK!

Welfare reforms – The impact of social security reform

Includes cuts to benefits. Sanctions where people lose part or all their income for one month to as much as three years. Between 2005 and 2012 the incomes of the UKs Poorest fell by 11 per cent. A report by Oxfam shows  how recent welfare cuts have driven the poorest 1.75 million families deeper into poverty.

Lack of decent work – Low wages and unemployment

It is disgusting that a significant number of people using food banks are employed but earning appallingly low wages, so low that they cannot even afford a modest amount of food. Fact the National minimum wages “has not risen in real terms since 2009, and the number of people living below the Living Wage has risen 40 percent to 4.8 million in 2012″.

Rising cost of living

On average households here in the UK are  “buying less food yet spending more money, and in 2012 purchased 4.7 percent less food while spending 17 percent more money than in 2007. Yet those in the bottom income decile spent 22 percent more on food and bought 5.7 percent less over the same period.” 

Read the full details:
http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/blog/2014/06/uk-hunger-what-can-we-do-about-it

Things have only got worse as more and more people sink deeper into poverty.

Already the rise in food banks between  2005 and 2013  shows that many people’s budgets have reached breaking point. As you can clearly see from the above graph at the beginning of the article the rise of food bank use has rapidly increased under the Tory Government. And if this government are re-elected next year by the look of things this increase will continue.

Here are the latest threats from the government issued at the Tory Party conference by millionaire chancellor George Osbourne and the also exceeding affluent and equally sociopathic Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Ian Duncan-smith.

The following working age benefits will be frozen for two years commencing April 2016 and  includes jobseeker’s allowance, tax credits, universal credit, child benefit, income support, the work-related activity component of employment and support allowance and the local housing allowance rates in housing benefit – if they win the next election that is.

More information concerning the latest idiotic and deeply unjust benefit reforms

Permanent Workfare, Housing Benefit Cuts, Food Stamp Style Smart Cards And School Children To Face Jobcentre Harassment – The Latest Rantings From Iain Duncan Smith

School children will face Jobcentre harassment from the age of 15 whilst claimants thought to have drug and alcohol problems will be paid benefits on smart cards if the Tories win the next election said Iain Duncan Smith…

18-21 year old who cannot find a job are to be placed on permanent workfare, whilst further caps on Housing Benefits will see yet more cities become unaffordable for anyone currently unable to work – whether this is through sickness, disability, high unemployment or having young children to care for.  And if this wasn’t enough then benefits are to be frozen for two years, meaning a real term cut in the incomes of the UK’s poorest people, whether they are in or out of work.

Read More:
http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/permanent-workfare-housing-benefit-cuts-food-stamp-style-smart-cards-and-school-children-to-face-jobcentre-harassment-the-latest-rantings-from-iain-duncan-smith/

Also see:
Hard Working Families To Face Triple Whammy Of Benefit Cuts Announces Multi-Millionaire Osborne
http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/hard-working-families-to-face-triple-whammy-of-benefit-cuts-announces-multi-millionaire-osborne/

Please click the above links and take the recommended action, it’s up to us to bring about change.

A combination of vicious welfare reforms including benefit sanctions, unemployment, low wages and rising prices have plunged people into a state of poverty so dire that they cannot afford to feed themselves or their children. Even in the bleakest of times parents have gone hungry in order to feed their children now for some families there is not enough even if both parents go without.

Consequently more and more people are being forced to turn to food banks to put food on their table.

The Trusslle Trust’s 423 food banks alone have provided nearly one million people with food parcels http://www.trusselltrust.org/stats including an ex veteran with PTSD, a 21 year-old college student who had not eaten properly for weeks and could not afford gas to heat her flat, a couple forced to borrow soup to feed their 18-month-old daughter, the family of a boy skipping school to avoid the embarrassment of no lunch money and a sixty-year old women recovering from cancer.

Changes to my ESA left me with no money for food’
Edna, almost 60, was referred to the foodbank by a cancer charity after her Employment Support
Allowance was replaced by Job Seeker’s Allowance. Despite having undergone radical surgery to remove cancer last year and suffering from arthritis and depression following the recent death of her brother, Edna was told she was fit for work. She has been applying for jobs with little success and feels that her age has reduced her employability. She is also concerned that she would not be able to physically cope with a job and is appealing the decision but this is expected to take weeks. Edna lives alone and has sold her TV, a main source of company for her, to help put food on the table and has been eating plain pasta or couscous as it’s all she can afford. She contacted the foodbank with just £8 left to last her five days.

Read more of their stories:
http://www.trusselltrust.org/real-stories – At the age of sixty this unfortunate woman should be retired!  The rise in the age of retirement is yet another disgraceful social injustice. We want some of our lives to enjoy, we don’t want to spend our entire existence enslaved to big corporations for low wages. The fact that this women has had to work all her life and now has to sell her TV just to eat is appalling.  Yet few speak out against the continuing exploitation and abuse of the most vulnerable in our society, people who may well have worked hard all their lives but have little to show for it as a result of poor wages. The greed of the few at the expense of the many aided and abetted by the party of the rich for the rich, the conservatives and their Liberal Democrat lackys.

More stories:
http://www.trusselltrust.org/resources/documents/RealStories.pdf:

Going without food not only results in obvious starvation – yes here in the UK- but also the following conditions:

Rickets
Poverty is forcing people to have dangerously poor diets and is leading to the return of rickets and gout – diseases of the Victorian age that affect bones and joints – according the UK Faculty of Public Health.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/30/child-poverty-link-malnutrition-rickets

Malnutrican
Latest figures show that there’s been a 19 percent increase in malnutrition-related hospitalisation in the UK over the past 12 months:

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/30/child-poverty-link-malnutrition-rickets

In spite of the erroneous signs of economic recovery, people are becoming poorer as more people are relying on food banks than ever before.

Read About food Banks in Maidenhead:

“At just pushing 9.30 AM, the Maidenhead foodbank was rammed with people. Shelves were stacked ceiling-high with tinned food and bags of pasta and it felt more like a UN posting in a war zone than sleepy Berkshire.”
Read More:
http://munchies.vice.com/articles/people-are-relying-on-foodbanks-in-the-uk-more-than-ever – Maidenhead is a well to do town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Not the sort of place that springs to mind when we think of people who need food banks.

Read About Food banks in Kendal Cumbria yet another affluent area:

“A record number of people in the North West turned to food banks in the last six months because they cannot afford to feed themselves, a charity says.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-20499685

People turn to crime as benefits are reduced

The manager of Guildford’s Citizens Advice Bureau has warned that more people will struggle as further changes to benefits are made
http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/fears-more-people-could-turn-7824190

If you are in any doubt that the need for food banks is a result of Tory welfare reforms read the following study:
http://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/study-finds-need-for-food-banks-is-caused-by-welfare-cuts/

Below the Breadline: The relentless rise of food poverty in Britain.

Oxfam believes that no one should go hungry, let alone in the seventh richest country in the world. Yet in Britain one in five people live below the poverty line and life expectancy in some areas is lower than some developing countries. Krisnah Poinasamy, Economic Justice Policy Adviser for our UK programme, introduces a shocking new report on hunger in the UK.

Oxfam campaigns for the government to turn the rising Tide of poverty

In order to turn this tide, Oxfam calls for the government to urgently respond to the evidence we have presented here and take action on the causes of food bank usage. Re-instating the social safety net principle as a core purpose of the welfare system would help to end the appalling situation documented in our report tonight’s Dispatches, and ensure that all families can put food on their table.

http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/blog/2014/06/uk-hunger-what-can-we-do-about-it

I think by now it is obvious that the government have no intention of turning the tide but fully intend to increase their momentum of welfare reforms, low wages and austerity measures. Frankly I think the Tory government fully intend to whittle away at our welfare system until it no longer exists and we revert to times past when poverty and deprivation were common place, where people begged on the streets with no hope and no future, condemned to a life of hardship, exploitation and misery and malnurishment with premature death as their only release.

Why the hell the people of Scotland voted no to independence is beyond my comprehension! I am indeed shocked that the Scottish people voted No. I think it was due to media biased scare mongering. Even the BBC are biased these days and support the conservative government. Frankly there is not much hope of anything really changing after the next election, even if Labour win they are now as right wing as the present government and will continue austerity measures including the draconian and unfair welfare reforms which have in some cases left sick and disabled people with no income and forcing the unemployed to work for nothing in American style workfare schemes. The UK today is an awful place to live and I cannot understand the Scottish people voting no.

Though Labour with the exception of the bedroom tax have not indicated any plans for any changes to the reforms implemented by the present government, it is more likely that changes can be introduced more easily within the Labour party to rectify this shocking situation, a situation I never thought we would face here in the UK. So as it stands right now Labour is unlikely to reverse much of this government’s welfare reforms.

Therefore We must demand change

Write to your MP demand a fair system of welfare which provides a standard of living worthy of any wealthy civilised country. A standard of living that provides food on the table, adequate housing and a decent lifestyle that allows people to live fullfilled satisfying lives. If your MP is Labour ask what they intend to do to redress the draconian welfare reforms begun by Labour and greatly enhanced by the conservatives and the rise in poverty if they are elected.

http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/

Links

Poverty UK
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/04/food-bank-britain-can-mps-agree-causes-uk-poverty

Credits
Graphic sources

The Rise of Foodbanks:
http://leftfootforward.org/2013/04/coalition-presides-over-1000-increase-in-number-of-people-using-food-banks/

The Trussell Trust Food Bank Chart:
http://www.trusselltrust.org/stats

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One thought on “Reasons Not to Vote Tory: The Rise of Food Banks

  1. I’m currently reading a book titled “Our Political Nature” by Avi Tuschman. While he sort of dumped everything and the kitchen sink into it…there are some very interesting expositions of what seems to drive those who would support “tory” political stances, even in the face of what seems to be harmful to the supporter. It’s sort of spooky how ubiquitous that sort of stuff is on a worldwide basis. You might enjoy taking a look at this book.

    Thank you for your post.

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