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This graph is now out of date. It only runs to April 2014 but the message is clear.

Iain Duncan Smith has indicated that he considers food banks to be a permanent part of the benefit system now, while answering questions posed by the Commons Work and Pensions committee.

He said he was “fully in support of food banks” and added that, “where people go to food banks because of problems with the department, the department tries to pick up those problems.”

He also said he was visited by representatives of a food bank before the summer break, who said some individuals had a problem with benefit payments.

He said he tried putting a benefits adviser in the food bank when it is open, so he or she can look into these cases. If the initiative works, it will be rolled out nationally.

Robert Devereux, the permanent secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, also giving evidence, said this is happening at a food bank at Manchester where two advisers attend on one day a week. There is also a phone line.

So, after blaming the rise of food banks on the Labour Party (wrongly – they proliferated under David Cameron), and after accusing food bank operators including the Trussell Trust of political campaigning against the Conservative Party, the Conservative Government now seems determined to see food banks become a fixture of British society.

Their efforts would be better spent eliminating the need for food banks altogether.

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