The Financial Times almost got it right.
The bit that says
More than 3m people in Britain are going hungry
I think we can all agree with. But
because of the coronavirus crisis
isn’t quite right.
The research the FT quotes says that many families have been pushed into poverty because the lockdown means they have suffered “stark drops in income” – but isn’t this because the Tories have tried to cover the loss of employment income with a patchwork of policies that don’t cover everybody and are spectacularly complicated to administrate, rather than simply bringing in a Universal Basic Income that is simplicity itself?
According to the FT, researchers at the Food Foundation found that six per cent of surveyed adults – equivalent to three million people, said someone in their household had to go without food during the last three weeks because there wasn’t enough food.
The same survey found 16 per cent of respondents – equivalent to 8.1 million people, said they had faced food insecurity of some kind – but, again, I’m going to have to take issue with the survey (and the report), because where it says
as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic
I would say it’s as a result of the measures brought in by the government in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also, the sharp rise in food poverty is not
being driven by self-isolation and a lack of money as an unprecedented economic shutdown leaves millions of workers newly unemployed, furloughed or dependent on government support.
It is being driven by unworkable policies imposed by a government that is desperate to avoid giving everybody enough money to survive. What’s the thinking behind that?
The survey said three per cent of respondents – equivalent to 1.5 million people, had gone a whole day without eating since the lockdown came into effect.
Half of those who said they were facing food insecurity were struggling because of shortages related to the pandemic, and a quarter because they could not leave their homes to shop.
Those are both government failings; shortages from panic-buying and people unable to leave their homes also being unable to access government schemes that, we’re told, exist to help them.
Around 21 per cent were hungry because they simply did not have enough money, and more than two per cent of respondents, the equivalent of a million people, said they had lost all their income since the lockdown had begun.
The Food Foundation and other charities have called for the government to urgently set up a task force to provide food parcels for those who are self-isolating, and to address the lack of cash faced by those who have lost their jobs, the foundation and other campaigners have also called for an end to the five-week wait for universal credit, and to double child benefit.
Why not just bring in a Universal Basic Income? Then everyone will have the cash they need to buy food, and the government will have the time to set up deliveries for people whose health conditions mean they may not leave home.
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