Friday, 22 November 2013

Poverty can be found, wherever we choose to look for it.

There is now a food bank in Consett for the first time since the miners strike. Food banks are no longer a temporary measure, they have become part of the establishment, for example when there are delays at the job centre, staff simply hand the destitute a food bank voucher.

Cameron will claim that food banks are a triumph of his big society but they are in fact needed because the failure of the state to look after the most vulnerable in society. Many donations come from older people who have lived through times when families and communities had to pull together in hard times.

Food banks are not unique to traditionally working class areas. I went on holiday with my family, camping in the New Forest. The towns and villages look very expensive places to live, one had a Ferrari dealership and many houses won't leave you any change from a Million pounds.

I was surprised to hear that the local churches were collecting food to distribute in leafy Southern towns. There is a now food bank in Hexham, it seems that even in areas which are sometimes thought of as better off, there is real hardship.

With Christmas fast approaching there are families who are really struggling with unemployment, low paid work, social security delays and the bedroom tax. Prices are rising, wages and social security payments are frozen and there is just too much month left at the end of the money.

Donations of food can be left at most churches, and I noticed that the Co-op in Prudhoe has a collection point.

The conduct of Tory MPs during Labour's opposition day debate on foodbank use, has been roundly criticised, they were laughing at the poor in their own consitituencies. The reality is clear: Poverty can be found, wherever we choose to look for it.

1 comment:

Syzygy said...

Very true Liam .. Eastbourne, and even Lewes, in East Sussex all have their food banks.

The thing, that is IMO also uncomfortable, is that they are run by (doubtless good) folk from the church. This means that everyone going to the Eastbourne food bank has to actively refuse the offer of a prayer or religious advice if they don't want it. Potentially, this is another hoop to jump through for people who just need to feed their families.