Socialist Worker

Who'd have thought austerity drives the rise in food banks?

Issue No. 2449

Food bank in a church in Bradford

Food bank in a church in Bradford (Pic: Geograph)


The growth of food banks is directly linked to benefit cuts such as sanctions.

It blows a hole in David Cameron’s claim that the huge rise in food bank use could be down to better advertising at Jobcentres.

The Oxford University research shows emergency food aid is most concentrated in areas where there are high levels of joblessness and benefit sanctions.

The survey, which used data supplied by Britain’s biggest food bank network, the Trussell Trust, found food banks operated in 20 council areas in 2009-10.

By 2013-14, they existed in 251 areas.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, concludes, “More food banks are opening in areas experiencing greater cuts in spending on local services and central welfare benefits and higher unemployment rates.

At the same time, the rate of food aid distribution tripled between 2010 and 2013 from about 0.6 food parcels per 100 people to 2.2 per 100.

There were stark variations between local areas, from a low of less than 0.1 food parcels per 100 people in Lichfield, Staffordshire, to a high of eight parcels per 100 people in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Higher rates of food parcel distribution are “significantly associated” with welfare cuts and austerity measures. 

The author of the study, Rachel Loopstra, said it was likely to have “underestimated the true burden of food insecurity in the UK” because food aid provision is patchy and data collection is relatively crude.


A scheme which sees supermarket vouchers given to 2,000 families in Newcastle to help feed their children over the school holidays has been axed 

Under Newcastle City Council’s Crisis Support Scheme, families with children aged five and six, who had their housing benefit reduced by the bedroom tax, got  Asda vouchers.

But the council has scrapped the scheme. A number of Labour councils introduced similar schemes—most now set to be abolished.


Cameron the royal cancels holidays 

It's odd how little David Cameron makes of being the great-great-great-great-great grandson of King William IV.

It gives him more genetic cred to rule than his boasts of being 13th cousin to Kim Kardashian.

William IV was the last monarch to appoint a prime minister against the will of Parliament. And a Tory one at that.

Cameron is  a fifth cousin twice removed of the current inhabitant of Buckingham palace.


Cameron paid an election visit to Sacred Heart Primary School near Bolton last week. The photo of the event is on page 10. 

But perhaps it wasn’t the excitement of meeting the prime minister that made one child drop their face to the desk.

It was in the middle of the Easter holidays. Making children go to school in the holidays just for the sake of a photo op seems cruel even for the Tories.


Dog whistle coat grooming slur

Is Ukip leader Nigel Farage a fake?

There have been suggestions his covert coat—with its distinctive dash of velvet around the back of the collar—was manufactured by Crombie.

But a spokesperson insisted, “It may look like one of ours, but it definitely isn’t.

“His coat is too tight around the stomach and too loose everywhere else. You can see the buttons on his, too.”


A UKIP candidate described an abandoned rubbish-strewn area of land as “resembling an Eastern European capital city”, 

Jamie Huntman—leader of the UKIP group on Essex County Council—made the remark on a form when applying for permission to erect a log cabin for a dog-grooming business.


A Michael Green has announced he is to stand as a parliamentary candidate in Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire.

This touches a raw nerve for the Tory chairman Grant Shapps, who is also contesting the seat. “Michael Green” was the name the politician used to pursue business interests—and later over vigously denied his connection to.


Princess Beatrice has flown off for a spring break at her parents’ posh pad in the swanky Swiss resort of Verbier.

It’s the 11th holiday Prince Andrew and Fergie’s jobless 26 year old daughter has enjoyed in the past six months.

Which is nice.


Cuts stop people getting nurse jobs

Nearly 30,000 people were refused the chance to become nurses last year despite an NHS staffing crisis.

The Royal College of Nursing’s Fragile Frontline report says over 50,000 hopefuls chased 21,205 traineeships at a time of budget cuts by Chancellor George Osborne.

At the same time, a drop in qualified nurses —down 1,845 over four years to 315,525.

The NHS then uses agency staff, at a cost of £980 million this year.


ANTI-TORY ANIMALS

Asbaby the Swan

Son of Asboy and grandson of Mr Asbo

  • Life in Cambridge is perfect for this aggressive bird with a taste for rowers
  • He is said to have inherited his bad temper from his grandfather, and his father Asboy
  • Posho boat clubs had the original Mr Asbo caught and exiled. They had appealed to the queen to kill him
  • One resident told the press about Asbaby, “I even saw him put his beak around a bottle of champagne”

Do you want fries with your bonus?

A City trader was made to eat burger after burger until he was sick, while surrounded by baying colleagues in an initiation ceremony at his firm.

The man becomes violently ill while he and another junior employee each attempt to consume eight quarter pounders with cheese.

One senior trader tries to “encourage” the young man, shouting, “Have a good look at yourself. You’ve got three minutes to turn this round. It’s £300. 

“Get on with it.”


The Things They Say...

‘I think it’s going methodically’

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg on his campaign

‘Left-wing commentators wet their knickers with excitement’

Dominic Lawson complains about those who celebrate the rich getting robbed

‘Hippy-dippy, New Agey thinking’

One Tory’s view on what Sam Cam has turned David Cameron into

‘She’s like our generation’s suffragette’

Actor Patsy Kensit on The Duchess of Cambridge

‘I’m not going to pretend it was easy’

George Osborne on how he felt when he was booed at the Paralympics

‘Only Labour will end austerity’

Leader of the Scottish Labour Party Jim Murphy

‘The leader of the Scottish Labour Party will not be in charge’

Labour’s Chuka Umunna corrects Murphy


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 14 Apr 2015, 16:52 BST
Issue No. 2449
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.