Socialist Worker

Tories' Hunger Shames: cuts leave millions without food

Issue No. 2433

Socialist Workers front page

The Tories are making more than four million people go hungry—including 500,000 children. 

Yet Britain became the world’s fourth richest country only last June. 

A parliamentary inquiry’s report revealed that there are now 420 Trussell Trust food banks.

There are at least as many again being run independently. Yet one of the report’s authors jibed, “Poor people don’t know how to cook.”

Tory lifetime peer Baroness Jenkin said poor people needed to eat more porridge.

“I had a large bowl of porridge today, which cost 4p, while a large bowl of sugary cereals will cost you 25p,” she said. 

Meanwhile, the House of Lords spent more than £260,000 on some 17,000 bottles of champagne in the last four years.

The Lords’ Refreshment Committee, which Jenkin sits on, refused to merge catering with MPs. They feared it would mean worse champagne.

The report highlighted the real cause of skyrocketing food bank use—falling living standards. 

Food prices rose by 47 percent in the decade to 2013. Fuel, gas and electricity prices shot up 153 percent. 

But wages haven’t kept up. The GMB union reports that real wages have dropped by more than 10 percent since 2007. 

So the proportion of household income spent on food, housing and utilities increased from 36 percent in 2003 to 40 percent in 2011. 

And that increase was most pronounced for society’s poorest 10 percent. Benefit cuts make this much worse. 

The report said, “Benefit-related problems were the single biggest reason given for food bank referrals by almost every food bank”.

It gives a snapshot into the reality of Tory Britain—and Osborne’s Autumn statement show’s he’s coming for more.

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