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

  1. Just the sort of tactics I’d expect from those pious Christian types. Only interested in bums on seats on a Sunday.

  2. GrumpyPants says:

    What utter rubbish! Desperate people don’t really care who provides for their needs and evangelism is not the motivation for the proliferation of food banks. The Government needs to cease looking for excuses and target the real causes of poverty and food deprivation – its own policies!

  3. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

  4. Graham Hughes says:

    Surely the DWP is right and food banks are a direct result of Christian evangelism. Cameron claims to be following Jesus’ idea for his “big society” nonsense and Duncan Smith is a devout Catholic who claims to be on a moral mission to reform welfare. They are ones responsible for the appalling rise in the need for food banks. If we had a bit less of these idiots’ religiously-driven dogmatism and instead had policies which reflected the reality of our society things would not be so bad.

  5. shane selfe says:

    its all them scroungers wanting more and more oh sorry my mistake them scroungers get there food paid for by the tax payer , if mps really gave a shit they would stop claiming for food and drink which is 170 a week

  6. Richard Harris says:

    So I says to Jesus, “Listen Sunshine, if you go around delivering trays of loaves and fishes to the fekin unwashed, what’s going to happen to my bloody fish and chip parlours?”

    ‘Course he didnt have an answer as he only had a degree in “Medya” and had never done a real days graft in his life. Idealists, I fekin hates ’em.

  7. The problem is that Neil Couling’s boss is bit of a 19th or even 18th Century Evangelist too , also a Walter Mitty character that has told a lot of porkies on his CV , IDS claimed that he had attended the University of Perugia when he had in fact attended the Università per Stranieri, which did not grant any degrees at that time, and a claim that he had attended the prestigious-sounding Dunchurch College of Management turned out to refer to some weekend courses at GEC Marconi’s staff college .

    HMS Conway is viewed as a school for the children of Ruperts that are deemed to be too thick to go to Public School .

    Then there was the little lies about his Army rank – a career bravely dodging the bombs and bullets as a glorified bag carrier for a General – that position had absolutely nothing to do with the General going to the same Public School as the highly decorated Group Captain Smith . There was talk of him being regarded as a RTU – ( Return to Unit ) to be kept away from the troops as much as possible . Sandhurst expects it’s officers to make the grade of Captain – in fact the only character recommendation he had was ” the thickest Scots Guardsman that I have ever met” .

    He was put on a long distance / heavy goods vehicle course before discharge – However he didn’t follow in Peter Sutcliffe’s footsteps and signed on the dole waiting for something ” more befitting ” – even became an illegal sub let tenant when his Millionairess fiancé Betsy rented a flat in London .

    It was very convenient for him marrying into old money and living rent free thanks to his Father in law.

    Couling’s boss has had such an illustrious career , failed unelectable leader of the Tory Party as Iain Duncan Cough , there was also Betsygate – No one had seen hide nor hair of her in that tax payer funded job . He threatened to resign the party whip if anyone that had ” bubbled ” him to the BBC went any further in the Tory Party .

    He reduced a flunky to tears for having the temerity to query his claims for underpants , £39 breakfasts , haircuts , £14 USB cables , overpriced Bose blue tooth sets etc – The Something for Nothing Society eh ? , that’s not to mention the EU ” Income Support ” for ” IDS Towers ” in the country .

    Hardly the gentleman or model of proprietary in Government – staring at Miss Essex’s breasts for 20 minutes * allegedly , similar sort of behaviour in The Commons hasn’t gone unoticed on Twitter , with Esther McVey , leering at her , ogling her bottom ; they should have sent for ” Nursey ” with the cold kedgeree spoon ? , he’s always been quick to leave too , maybe he fancied a spot of Victorian onanism if there was uncovered piano legs in the vicinity or going out into Whitechapel to ” clean up
    the streets ”

    I haven’t got time to mention the demonisation of the vulnerable and unemployed , blaming them for a World sub prime crash , the distorted and dubious statistics , the half truths and lies , the Universal Job Match disaster , the Universal Credit Car Crash , the fact that he goes round with two armed policemen * allegedly , the narcissistic , thin skinned temper tantrums etc , etc – the fact that Gideon thought he was a bit thick and Cameron wanting him moved to the MoJ – maybe he knows where the bodies are buried ? , hopefully metaphorically not literary – not the sort that would provide the fillings for Eric Pickle’s pies .

  8. Except foodbanks make a point of being as secular as possible, they don’t ask people to go to church or talk about religion before or after giving them the food, they just want to help people in need. So how exactly are they evangelising anything?

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