Too poor to eat; too long to wait

'Bin diving': This is a stock shot of a man in Chelyabinsk, Russia, looking for food in rubbish bins - but it is happening here in the UK as well, and your Coalition Government will try every trick in the book to deny responsibility for it.

‘Bin diving’: This is a stock shot of a man in Chelyabinsk, Russia, looking for food in rubbish bins – but it is happening here in the UK as well, and your Coalition Government will try every trick in the book to deny responsibility for it.

Two stories on Welfare Weekly yesterday (December 9) really stood out – they express the Coalition Government’s attitude to state-funded benefits and the people receiving them so well.

The first was entitled Too Poor To Eat: Man Reduced To Tears As He Describes Being Unable To Afford Food and describes vividly – in this season of goodwill to everybody – how contemptuously the Coalition regards the people for whom it has the greatest duty of care, and how it has turned the welfare state into a tool of warfare against those least able to fight back.

It told the story of Mike from New Cross, who called LBC radio to describe how he has had to live off a tin of spaghetti a day and is forced to root through supermarket bins to survive.

“What you get covers just what you need, and you have to go to food banks,” he said.

“For these people to sit there to say oh go and get a job – I’m out there every day, looking and searching, and you know you’re trying to do it on your own, but you can’t, and it gets harder and harder.

“You’re just trying to get by. Some days I can’t eat. I don’t eat.”

The other was Five-Week Wait For Benefits Will Increase Food Bank Use, Says TUC. This warned that Universal Credit – if it ever gets introduced across the whole of the UK – will involve a wait of more than five weeks before claimants can receive benefits, rather than the current two.

New claimants will not be eligible for any financial support during the first week of their claim, and will then have to wait a further month before any benefits are paid.

The warning came in response to a cross-party inquiry into hunger and child poverty, which found that delays in benefit payments is one of primary reasons for soaring numbers of food bank users.

Clearly the Coalition Government is not bothered about the plight of people like Mike – its Universal Credit policy makes it perfectly clear that the plan is to increase the agony – for anyone who has the temerity to claim the social security for which they have been paying taxes, ever since they were old enough to be trusted with money.

And there’s another factor at play here: Blame.

Look at what Mike said: “For these people to sit there to say oh go and get a job…” Suppose he starves to death, as Mark Wood already has. What will the Coalition Government and its media puppets say? “He was another lazy man who couldn’t get up off his backside and get a job“?

Suppose more people do end up going to food banks as a result of a switchover to Universal Credit (you never know, that change might just happen) – will right-wing critics attack them in the same way a commenter on Mainly Macro attacked them? Will they be told they don’t really need the free food parcels on offer there? Will they be told they’re only going because it is free, and there is limitless demand for anything that is free? Will they be told they are just pretending to be hungry?

And what, exactly, is the ultimate purpose behind these claims?

Is it not to insure the Coalition Government against the backlash when somebody dies?

They may starve; they may commit suicide through despair. Both have already happened – here in the UK – many times since the Coalition slithered into office. Ministers don’t want you to know that they were responsible; that their policies led people to this point; that this is what they were intended to do.

Speaking ill of the dead is a better outcome for ministers than admitting they failed to provide the protection for which the people of this country pay their taxes.


  1. Landless Peasant December 10, 2014 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    I know how he feels, I only eat one meal per day, usually a bowl of veg stew or porridge, and I’m not even sanctioned yet. No one can adequately live on £68 per week JSA, it’s simply not enough.

    • amnesiaclinic December 12, 2014 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      Living on veg stew or porridge for your main meal or only meal is starvation rations that concentration camp inmates and pow’s had. It is so unbelievably shocking in this rich country where people have already paid in for benefits in hard times that I think we should all demand our MP’s and particularly IDS should live on for at least a month in the winter with no cheating.

      They couldn’t.

  2. Landless Peasant December 10, 2014 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    We should EAT THE RICH !

    • Mike Sivier December 10, 2014 at 11:58 pm - Reply

      What a revolting suggestion!

      • DaveD December 11, 2014 at 8:43 am - Reply

        Yes, that much fat would be very unhealthy!

      • wildswimmerpete December 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm - Reply

        We could turn them into pig swill! Using them to feed their own kind.

  3. Creative84 December 11, 2014 at 12:26 am - Reply

    A country divided against itself is a country heading for disaster. The campaign to vilify the poor, to damn those on benefits as scroungers, to ostracise disabled people and undermine their very lives is utterly reprehensible for a basically Christian country. IDS is a practising Catholic yet he is quite prepared to totally go against Christ’s teaching to love God and your fellow man as yourself.

  4. Maria December 11, 2014 at 2:13 am - Reply

    the only way you survive off benefits is to live with other people, on benefits or not, you can’t on your own. Benefits is a terrible trap and once you fall on them, its near impossible to get back off into work, in the last five years its become a bigger trap, and the only way out it seems is to be sanctioned and then that only leads you to the streets. Such despair it causes you. Then the Tories wonder why people stop looking for a job, its not that they don’t want one, its just they have given up the hope of ever having one. Little they know about reality.

    • wildswimmerpete December 11, 2014 at 4:04 pm - Reply

      Pension guarantee credit is reckoned to be the lowest amount of money needed to actually live. Currently it’s just over £150pw.

      • Maria December 11, 2014 at 11:03 pm - Reply

        ‘Reckoned to be the lowest amount of money needed to actually live.’ Says it all really, people who work these things out these days are so far from reality they are not qualified to do their job anymore.

  5. Stephen Tamblin December 11, 2014 at 6:47 am - Reply

    This so called government wouldn’t be able to live on our benifits probably there breakfast cost more than our benifits .We all know that camoran and tories are taking away our right to claim benifits thay have no right to do that .never mind thay are being investigated for crimes against humanity

  6. Mike Sivier December 11, 2014 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Bizzie Lizzie posted this elsewhere by mistake; I’m correcting that:
    Iain Duncan Smith decided to roll out universal credit on 24th November, in parts of the North West, to include couples with children and single parents. Taking into account that it takes five weeks to receive a payment, these families will not receive a payment in time for Christmas. Is his timing of the rollout coincidental? I think not. He is the Grinch who stole Christmas.

    • Mike Sivier December 11, 2014 at 11:05 am - Reply

      He’s trying to keep back a few Christmas bonuses.

      • wildswimmerpete December 11, 2014 at 4:07 pm - Reply

        I haven’t yet had my Christmas bonus payment. The value of the Christmas payment is £10 and hasn’t been increased since its introduction in the 1970s.

  7. frank December 11, 2014 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    wish i had £30 for a hop breakfast.

    • Mike Sivier December 11, 2014 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      ‘Hop’ breakfast?

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