Sunday, 22 December 2013

Free food

The Tories are driving the poor into starvation and reliance on food banks to survive apparently. At least that's the impression you get should you read anything in the Left-leaning press or hear a quote from a Labour MP on the matter. Now food banks are for emergencies, perhaps the most common being a delay in receiving a benefits claim. Not great, but the help is there. But then a new benefits claim is going to be an irregular event so being reliant on them is unlikely, which fires up my inner cynic...

You need a referral from the Job Centre, your doctor, social worker, etc. to be able to get help from a food bank. Now faced with a request for a food bank voucher, what do you think that the Job Centre staff, doctors, and social workers are going to do? Get the requester to state their case and challenge their story, or knowing they face an argument and have limited time, just write out the referral? Of course they're going to chose the latter option and take the path of least resistance; of what benefit to them is to refuse? Knowing that free food is on offer, is every claimant going to be 100% honest if there is no disadvantage or sanction for a false claim? I'll leave that for you to decide.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about food banks is the "charity" behind a lot of them, The Trussell Trust. Every article you read about food banks will have a quote from a spokesman about how the brutal and heartless Tories are trying to exterminate the poor, who are only saved from this fate by one of their food banks. So what does The Trussell Trust actually do? Well it's actually a franchise operation masquerading as a charity. Want to set up a food bank in your area but need some help? £1,500 to The Trussel Trust should sort that out with ongoing fees every year. They are very keen on your money as:
The Trussell Trust partners with churches and communities to open new foodbanks nationwide. With almost 400 foodbanks currently launched, our goal is for every town to have one.
Yep, so this is yet another "charity" concerned more with perpetuating itself rather than trying to deal with the underlying causes for its existence. It doesn't even get its hands dirty, that's the job of the franchisees who are volunteers, and not to mention that half of its income goes on staff salaries...

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