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“One of our clients was sanctioned. He had
no money for seventeen weeks. He was
scavenging in a bin, the lorry came, picked
him up and he was crushed to death.”
The above is a statement by Vince Hessey, a member of the board of trustees at Birkenhead YMCA (listed as YMCA Wirral), given in evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom, printed in the section entitled The vulnerability of people relying on food banks.
The inquiry’s aims included investigating the underlying causes of hunger and food poverty in the UK, and considering ways of improving the situation.
The report’s central recommendation is for the creation of a new national network called Feeding Britain, composed of the food bank movement and other providers of food assistance, the voluntary organisations redistributing fresh surplus food, the food industry and representatives from ‘each of the eight government departments whose policy affects the numbers of people at risk of hunger’.
That’s all very well, but something isn’t right here.
What about the fact that a major cause of hunger and food poverty in the UK is the UK’s own government?
What about the fact that a decision by a UK government employee, following guidelines set down by UK government ministers, led to a man being crushed to death in a refuse collection lorry?
What about the fact that this was one of many incidents that would not have happened if UK government policy had been different?*
And what about the fact that the UK government clearly couldn’t care less?
Thanks are due to Ann McGauran, the blogging food bank helper, for raising this issue. Her own article on the Feeding Britain report goes into far greater detail and may be found here.
*See, for example:
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