A government minister has rejected suggestions that austerity policies have led to an increase in food bank use — making the astonishing suggestion that food bank charities are somehow to blame.
Former investment banker and peer David Freud, a minister in DWP, told the Lords this afternoon that the increase in the usage of food banks was “supply led”.
“If you put more food banks in, that is the supply. Clearly, food from the food banks is a free good and by definition with a free good there’s almost infinite demand.”
In the wake of the longer wait for unemployment benefits introduced by George Osborne last week, Freud also rejected suggestions by leading food bank operators that delays in benefit payments drove demand for emergency food aid.
His comments come after similar straw-clutching from other senior Tory figures — including secretary of state Iain Duncan Smith — that the growing number of food banks is down to advertising in Jobcentres and an increase in volunteers.
Evidently this is what Cameron meant by the Big Society.