Food banks: Government damned by its own report

– Food Bank Campaigner and Euro MP responds

A report [1] released today by the British Government, after months of delay, confirms that the use of food banks across the UK is soaring.

The report, which was released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is damning for the Government. It highlights the inaccuracy of claims made by Lord Freud, a Government minister, which suggested that a rise in food bank use could be simply because of increased availability of the service. [2]

The report states that: “There is no systematic evidence on the impact of increased supply and hypotheses of its potential effects are not based on robust evidence.”

Keith Taylor, the Green Party’s MEP for South East England and the author of the ‘Food Bank Britain’ report, said:

“This report confirms two things that we already knew. Firstly it reminds us that demand for food banks in the UK is soaring. My own research last year showed a 60% year on year rise in demand in my constituency, and I know similar surges in demand have occurred all over the UK.

This report, which the Government has avoided releasing for many months, also confirms that the increase in demand for food banks is not simply because there are more of them supplying emergency food handouts. This explodes the myth, perpetuated by Government Minister Lord Freud, that food bank users are taking free handouts just because they’re available.

Food bank use is soaring because people in Britain are experiencing the grind of poverty. Wages have stagnated for years, benefits are being cut and, increasingly, people are finding their benefits removed without any good reason.

This out of touch Government has attempted to create an atmosphere of contempt for the poorest in society. Ultimately we know that poverty is a result of policy, and that the Government is responsible for the fact that so many people in this country are relying on emergency food handouts to support their families.”

Ends

1) The Government report is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/283071/household-food-security-uk-140219.pdf

2) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/demand-for-food-banks-has-nothing-to-do-with-benefits-squeeze-says-work-minister-lord-freud-8684005.html

3) Keith Taylor’s report, Food Bank Britain, is available here: http://issuu.com/greenkeithmep/docs/food_bank_britain_final