Hated Tory millionaire Iain Duncan Smith insists his attacks on benefit claimants are about helping them find jobs.
He denies any link between cutting off people’s only income for weeks or months and the growth of food banks.
His actions tell a different story. Duncan Smith has launched a trial run of putting job centre advisors in food banks.
Some 7,366 people were treated with malnutrition in England in the past year. Charity and church-run food banks have been integrated into the welfare state.
Unemployed, disabled and low-paid benefit claimants can only go with a referral from their GP, social worker or job centre advisor.
The threat of benefit sanctions already forces them to jump through endless hoops for the job centre. It creates stress and depression, but doesn’t help them find non-existent jobs.
Extreme food poverty was the dirty secret that forced claimants to comply. Now Duncan Smith is making it official.
In 1845 the revolutionary Frederick Engels called fear of unemployment the bosses’ “sharpest weapon”.
Those without work faced “starving, of freezing to death”. This horrifying poverty made every worker “the slave” of bosses.
Workers fought for a welfare state to blunt that terror. Duncan Smith is determined to bring it back.