Tag Archives: food banks

Now DWP try to blame food bank growth on Christian “evangelism”

DWP sign

As yet another report — this time from Oxfam, Church Action on Poverty and the Trussell Trust — links changes to the welfare system to an increase in food bank use, the government trots out its usual line:

“It’s simply not possible to draw conclusions from these unverified figures from disparate sources.”

Perhaps its worth reflecting on DWP’s own attitude to the truth. Giving evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee on food banks recently, department director Neil Couling questioned the motivations of the UK’s biggest supplier of emergency food aid by implying that a motivation for their growth was Christian “evangelism” and that the food banks were merely an “evangelical device”:

“For the Trussell Trust, food banks started as an evangelical device to get religious groups in touch with their local communities. As far as I know, the Government has no policy on evangelism.”

The comment elicited a furious response from the Trussell Trust chair, who wrote to Couling last month:

“Please provide me immediately with the evidence you have to support this assertion. You are directly challenging the integrity of a registered charity and its trustees both past and present. If you are not able to provide evidence to support this assertion please write immediately to the Scottish Parliament Welfare Reform Committee to withdraw the statement.”

This smear comes from a department whose secretary of state has claimed that problems of poverty have a “spiritual base”.

SEE ALSO: Charities line up to link food bank use with benefits regime

In denial: Charities line up to link food bank use with benefits regime

Esther McVey and Iain Duncan SMith

Ministers have been told they are “in denial” after a series of charities told a committee that the government’s harsh new benefits regime is driving food bank use.

Written submissions from bodies such as Oxfam and Barnardos to a Scottish Parliament committee, whose report on food banks is published today,  emphasise DWP’s culpability.  But heartless employment minister Esther McVey still claimed three weeks ago that there is “no robust evidence linking food bank usage to welfare reform”.

“No robust evidence” apart from that academic study commissioned by the Scots Government …

“Providers who participated in the study were in agreement that welfare reform, benefit delays, benefit sanctions and falling incomes have been the main factors driving the recent trend observed of increased demand for food aid”

… and what everyone involved with provision of emergency food aid told the committee:

“An increasing number of people are being referred to foodbanks because they have been sanctioned for what some frontline professionals have described as ‘trivial reasons'” — Trussell Trust

“Cuts to the levels of welfare support such as cuts to housing benefit entitlement … Delays in getting benefits, combined with a stricter sanction regime for claimants” — Barnardos

“Since the changes to the benefit system, requests for food parcels have increased by more than fifty per cent” — Christian charity Loaves and Fishes

“Bedroom tax causing people to have debt problems because they cannot afford the additional costs … Sanctions on benefits causing people to seek additional help” — Community Food Moray

“More people are coming to food banks as they are subject to delays in payment of benefit, sanctions by Job Centre Plus, have exhausted their savings to pay the bedroom tax …” — Community Food Initiatives North East

“It is clear that many people turning to emergency food banks are experiencing some sort of benefit delay or sanction.” — Oxfam Scotland

McVey has turned down a request for a public meeting with the committee.

The Truth: Food bank users don’t get ‘restaurant tokens’

'Food bank user' in The Sun

As suspected, the claim in this morning’s Sun that can people can obtain “restaurant tokens” from food banks turns out to be borderline lies. An informed source told Scrapbook:

“It’s simply not Trussell Trust policy to supply restaurant tokens. It’s possible that a handful of food banks may have partnered with soup kitchens or social enterprises to offer something along those lines but this wouldn’t be available to the vast, vast majority of food bank users.”

Remember those ‘free TVs for asylum seekers’?

Tories go on warpath in sickening attack against food bank charity

  • DWP and Tories on attack after 50% rise in food bank use
  • Whitehall source: biggest food bank charity is “misleading” and “emotionally manipulative”
  • Thatcher minister Edwina Currie pens smear column in The Sun

Trussell Trust food bank is 'manipulative'

Iain Duncan Smith’s department has launched a sickening attack against the UK’s largest food bank charity after they revealed yesterday that food bank use had increased by more than 50% in just twelve months.

A “Whitehall source” — almost certainly from within DWP — briefed the following smears to the Daily Mail alongside a quote from an official spokesman:

“[The Trussell Trust is engaged in] fairly misleading and emotionally manipulative publicity seeking”

“It’s not entirely surprising given Chris Mould is effectively running a business.”

The hypocrisy of these statements is simply breathtaking — coming from a department which cites a lack of credible data linking food bank use to harsh welfare policies (while refusing to collect their own) and has been repeatedly censured for their misleading press releases and statistical abuse.

The appearance of an op-ed in The Sun (£) from Edwina Currie belies the level of co-ordination behind the rearguard action — but At least former Thatcher minister has the guts to put her confused thoughts under her own name.

After remarking “Are people going hungry? I don’t believe so”, Currie then parrots a claim made by millionaire minister Lord Freud that food bank parcels are an unrestricted free good — driving a spike in demand from anyone that fancies (in the Sun’s caption) “lining up for some free nosh”:

“Let’s remind ourselves of one basic fact — if something worth having is being handed out free, there will be many willing takers. There are more users because there are more food banks. It’s obvious.”

But she then contradicts herself in the, errr, next paragraph by admitting that you need to be referred to a food bank from a partner organisation such as a Jobcentre:

“They are a hand-out, not a hand-up and it’s no surprise claimants are queuing up as new ones open, vouchers in hand obtained from almost anyone in authority.”

The red top saves the worst until last, however, with this quote about obtaining “top brand” products and “restaurant tokens” with “no worry about cost”:

'Food bank user' in The Sun

The message: feckless food bank users are on the take.

50% food bank growth: Osborne introduced benefit delay last year

  • Largest food bank operator report 50% rise in users
  • Government claiming benefit claim processing has improved
  • But Osborne deliberately introduced seven-day delay

Osborne food bank

With the number of people using food banks rising 50% in the last year, the government are indignant at the suggestion that their policies have anything to do with it.

The BBC reports:

“There is no robust evidence that welfare reforms or benefit administration are linked to increased use of food banks,” said a spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

She also maintained that the amount of time taken to process payments had improved.

Some 92% of payments were now made within the target time of 16 days, a 6% improvement on the time taken five years ago, she told the BBC.

So, errr … what about George Osborne’s announcement at the 2013 Spending Review that the newly unemployed would be forced to wait seven days before being elligible to claim benefits?

“We will also introduce a new seven-day wait before people can claim their benefits. Those first few days should be spent looking for work, not looking to sign on.”

And three months before that they scrapped crisis loans for desperate families.

The only people benefiting from these policies are payday lenders.

Nick Griffin: New ‘BNP food banks’ are for whites only

BNP food bank

With the news that the BNP campaign teams are doubling up as mobile food banks, Nick Griffin has intervened to clarify they are properly racist!

Scrapbook wishes the BNP luck trying this during the regulated period before a poll. This is from the Electoral Commission’s summary of election offences:

“A person is guilty of treating if either before, during or after an election they directly or indirectly give or provide any food, drink, entertainment or provision to corruptly influence any voter to vote or refrain from voting. Treating requires a corrupt intent – it does not apply to ordinary hospitality”

The “Nazi Welfare Organisation” ran soup kitchens for the destitute in the 1920s and 30s.

Tory blocks food bank because ‘he can’t book restaurant on Saturday’

Food banks

A Tory councillor has cited full restaurants as evidence that his borough doesn’t need another food bank. With Conservatives in Crawley ignoring the findings of the council’s Deprivation Scrutiny Panel — which suggested a food bank be set up at the town hall – Cllr Liam Marshall-Ascough said:

“People aren’t in poverty in terms of going without food. You try booking a restaurant in Crawley on a Friday or Saturday night. You can’t do it.”

It sounds like Cllr Marshall-Ascough would get on with government minister Lord ‘charities are to blame for food banks’ Freud.

Iain Duncan Smith’s local councils spend £70,000 on food banks

  • DWP boss’ local councils forced to fund food banks
  • But cabinet minister refused to meet charity bosses
  • Even Tory think tank says benefits regime to blame

Iain Duncan Smith

Two councils covering Iain Duncan Smith’s constituency have been forced to spend £70,000 to support food banks. The news emerges three months after the cabinet minister snubbed repeated requests for a face-to-face meeting by accusing the UK’s largest food bank charity of “scaremongering”.

BBC Panorama is set to report that a third of councils are funding food banks, with the burden on local authorities running to £3 million per year. They include the two of the three covering Duncan Smith’s Chingford and Woodford Green constituency.

Back in December it was revealed that Duncan Smith had yet again refused to meet with the Christian-run Trussell Trust food bank, complaining that charity bosses have “repeatedly sought to link the growth in your network to welfare reform”:

“I strongly refute this claim and would politely ask you to stop scaremongering in this way. I understand that a feature of your business model must require you to continuously achieve publicity, but I’m concerned that you are now seeking to do this by making your political opposition to welfare reform overtly clear.”

But the Duncan Smith’s defence is now crumbling — with a Tory think tank breaking ranks to underscore the link between the harsh new sanctions regime and food bank useA report from Policy Exchange — founded by Michael Gove and Francis Maude and described as “David Cameron’s favourite think tank” — released today states:

“With some estimates suggesting that 43% of those referred to food banks are there due to benefit stoppage or being refused a crisis loan, it is clear that there is not currently an adequate safety net for those who are wrongly sanctioned”

Whether it’s Universal Credit, benefits sanctions or food banks, Iain Duncan Smith inhabits his own fantasy world.

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