Benefit claimants whose claims have been delayed or who have been refused crisis loans will now be signposted by Jobcentre Plus staff to food banks run by a Christian trust, signaling a pronounced move from welfare rights to charity.
In an article in The Independent by Jonathan Owen and Brian Brady they comment that this “is the first time in living memory that hungry people will have been passed on to charities in this way” as the Trussell Trust gears up to hand out 100,000 food parcels across England and Wales this year. The scheme will operate from the 70 existing food banks run by the Trust who is also planning to open a further 60 in the next six months.
Jeremy Ravn, a Director of the Trust, estimates that 30 – 40% of those receiving the food parcels will be in need as a result of problems with benefits. A claimant will be limited to three consecutive referrals – each time giving them enough food for three days. They will be given basics such as tinned soup, baked beans, meat, fish and pasta.
The government is making it ever more difficult to claim for benefits as they attempt to expunge any notion of welfare entitlement from our society. Once claims are accepted it is also ever more uncertain that a claimant will receive any money as benefit payment centres are closed and staff made redundant alongside a policy of stopping claims at any and every opportunity. Disabled people are being plunged into poverty and destitution. We are also being forced into greater dependency as the very real fear of being left without any source of income inhibits aspirations to try for anything different.
As a result of the government’s attack on the welfare state, people with no income will be left with a choice of either starving or stealing to feed themselves. The introduction of food banks enables the government to excuse itself from taking responsibility for putting people who are powerless and in need into this position; it will mean they can more easily demonize those who do resort to crime to survive by pretending this is not their only option, meanwhile creating a section of society who are without opportunity and are dependent upon the charity of those who have chosen to pursue wealth and material gain as a life choice.
Shame on the Trussell Trust for colluding with the government in the destruction of the welfare state and the rights of disabled people to live equally and with dignity.
For full story go to: www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jobcentres-to-send-poor-and-hungry-to-charity-food-banks-2356578.html