Amber Rudd is right and people have been using food banks who didn’t need to: TORY MPs

He didn’t need to visit a food bank: Iain Duncan Smith – the man considered more responsible for sending people to food banks than any other – contributed a small bag of sugar, the cost of which he’ll probably claim back on expenses, to his local foodbank in a photo opportunity intended to pretend that he cares about the poor people he sent there.

The minister responsible for making sure everybody who is entitled to state benefits knows what benefits they should have has claimed that people are using food banks because they don’t know what benefits they should be getting.

Amber Rudd, who had to resign as Home Secretary over the racist Windrush scandal, appears to be trying to prove she can’t function as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions either.

She told BBC Five Live: “Sometimes I discover when I go to visit the food banks there are people in there who don’t know what access to benefits they had, which is why it’s important that there’s a good relationship between us and the food banks, which generally there is.”

This makes no sense at all.

If there is a good relationship between the DWP and food banks, and the reason for that is to ensure that people visiting food banks know what benefits they can access, then nobody visiting a food bank should be unaware of the information they need… unless the DWP isn’t doing its job properly, of course.

Let’s consider an alternative theory. The Trussell Trust published information showing that food bank use as increased by 52 per cent in areas where Universal Credit has been in place for at least a year, compared with 13 per cent where it had not been, and Ms Rudd admitted in February that “the main issue… could have been the fact that people had difficulty accessing their money early enough”.

Perhaps that is because the DWP, in fact, didn’t inform claimants of the difference between the benefits they had been getting and the amounts they would receive in the future.

There is evidence to support this. A report on the transition from tax credits to Universal Credit shows nearly half of claimants were not aware their tax credits would stop when they claimed universal credit, and 56 per cent felt they did not receive enough information.

More than a third were in financial difficulty – of whom six in 10 said their troubles started after they began claiming Universal Credit.

Now, here’s the punchline: The release of this report was delayed for 18 months. It was made available to Ms Rudd’s forerunner David Gauke (and, presumably, to his replacement Esther McVey before coming into the hands of her replacement, Ms Rudd) and to Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and they immediately decided not to publish it.


That is the question asked by the chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions committee, Frank Field, in a letter to both (current ministers), sent on Monday (April 15).

His letter points out that the delay came at a time when pivotal decisions about Universal Credit were about to be made, and asks what actions the ministers took after reading the report, other than ordering that it be shelved.

On April 16, the Work and Pensions committee published new figures showing that the DWP had “serially botched” payment of the sickness benefit Employment and Support Allowance, meaning it is likely that hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people were underpaid.

How many of them ended up having to visit food banks because of the DWP’s errors?

How many Universal Credit claimants had to visit food banks because they were not properly informed of what it means to go from tax credits to UC – making a mockery of Ms Rudd’s claims about users being ignorant of their entitlements?

While we’re thinking about those questions, let’s all remember that these issues were all current at a time when Conservative MPs were visiting food banks for photo opportunities, arranged to make it seem these super-rich Tories actually cared about the poverty-stricken people they had sent there.

It seems clear that the only people using food banks who didn’t need them were those Conservative MPs.

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7 thoughts on “Amber Rudd is right and people have been using food banks who didn’t need to: TORY MPs

  1. SteveH

    Isn’t this the same guy who made sure he had secure housing for his family by squatting on his in-laws estate and also secured his own financial future by marrying into money.

    Tory meritocracy, is IDS the exception that proves the rule?

  2. Jeffrey Davies

    iv never heard so much crapp.
    yet rtu ids said he could live off 50 quid yet refuses to do so people are just stock to their kind culling them through benefits denial yet our mps all now by now that they are and aint much interested in it other than talking in the side rooms of the house of ill repute but their minds only see theft or fraud but they are the cause of it all

  3. Tony Dean

    Whilst SOME people who end up being referred to food banks have money management issues, (for which they get counselling and help.)
    it is an insult to suggest it is a major factor in the rising numbers using food banks.
    As the Work and Pensions Committee has pointed out recently in two reports it is the DWP at fault not claimants.

    1. Msw

      It has nothing to do with money management. UC is not enough to live on. You pay bills or you eat, not both.

  4. Gary

    I’ve personally HAD TO go to a foodbank. You HAVE TO be REFERRED, you can’t just wander in off the street. Despite the people being very nice, begging for food is the ultimate humiliation, especially when you’ve paid Tax and National Insurance your entire working life.

    It takes long enough to process UC claims and then there is the ‘waiting period’ This is designed (ALL forms are VERY carefully designed) to put off claimants from claiming their entitlement. And, as the cast majority of DWP claims are for short term unemployment, this is making a massive impact on those who need to claim. The only thing that exceeds short-term unemployment/short term sickness is Pensioners.

    We have a myth in this country that long term unemployed are ‘raking in’ massive sums and that the disabled are all ‘at it’

    I’m a former Civil Servant, I’ve actually MET the people personally, it isn’t true and the statistics back this up.

    This is ‘Victim Blaming’

Comments are closed.