Category Archives: Food Banks

What will you say when they ask what you did in the class war?


I seem to have hit a nerve when I said the Tories are waging a class war on anyone who isn’t filthy rich.

In fact, two Vox Political articles touched on this class war – the first implied it, the second made it explicit.

Today I opened Twitter to discover those words all over the place:

I’m not claiming credit for calling a thing by its name – this is “multiple discovery”, “simultaneous invention”, “synchronicity” or, if you like, an expression of the “zeitgeist”. More and more people are simply coming to realise, understand and accept that it is the policy of the UK’s Conservative government to push them down unfairly.

That is what the decision – and it was a decision, deliberately made – to punish ‘A’ level pupils who weren’t from private schools was all about. Yes, Gavin Williamson and the other Tories are saying it was down to a mechanical system, an algorithm – but that algorithm was written by a human being who intended it to give an advantage to the children of very rich people.

In this way, the Tory class war has stolen your children’s futures and given them to the undeserving rich.

It’s what the decision  – and it was a decision, deliberately made – not to fight Covid-19 in any meaningful way was all about. Tens of thousands of people in care homes have died – your relatives, maybe – because Matt Hancock and the other Tories said people with Covid-19 who lived in those homes should be sent back to them – never mind the fact that they did not have isolation facilities and the virus would run through those places like wildfire and be transferred to others by part-time staff who worked in different homes run by the same – private – firm.

The Tories – and their private business collaborators – failed to source personal protective equipment, ventilators, tests and the facilities to carry out tests. The lockdown they imposed was half-hearted and failed to stop the progress of the disease. Now that they have lifted it, albeit with a few measures still in place, more people are contracting the virus again. So they have stopped reporting the daily number of infections.

And the Tories have rewarded their private business collaborators for their failures with hugely expensive contracts to continue failing us – all at the public expense. Serco’s test and trace contract has been renewed, even though we know it won’t stop any second wave (really just a resurgence of the first wave that was suppressed but never went away).

You won’t get justice against the Tories by the normal means available to civil society because the Tories have either corrupted them already or are in the process of doing so. Boris Johnson illegally terminated Parliament’s last session in the autumn of 2019 and what was the result? He called a general election, lied to us until he was purple in the face and was rewarded with an 80-seat Parliamentary majority.

Now he is using that power to ensure that the courts will not be able to stop any more of his corruption by planning a curb on judicial review of government activity. He is imposing a dictatorship – just as he told you he would, if you could have been bothered to read page 48 of his election manifesto.

The police won’t help. Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson and the others are all above the law – no matter what they do. Try reporting a cabinet minister for a crime and see how far you get. They’ll tell you they’re treating it seriously, bounce the accusation around a few different departments and then say there’s no evidence. I’ve been there.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died already because it is Tory policy to kill claimants of sickness or disability claimants, who they consider to be “useless eaters”. That’s why the newspapers have been full of reports showing people with long-term illnesses and disabilities starving to death.

They wanted your homes so they imposed the Bedroom Tax and took them away from you.

The list goes on and on.

And still, too many people think they are the best choice to run the UK – even though the economy is in its deepest recession ever, and Brexit means it may never recover. You will suffer – they won’t. They have been stockpiling your cash and will simply use it to sit out any unpleasantness in the future.

But I feel sure a tipping-point will come – a flashpoint. I wonder how much we will all have to lose before that happens. I’m guessing it’ll be pretty much everything.

By then, many people may think there is nothing they can do. I am reminded yet again of Martin Niemoller’s poem about how the Nazis came for different groups who received no help from anybody else until, by the time they come for the author, there was nobody even left for him to ask.

But I am reminded of another group who were put in a similar position. When I visited Bosnia in the 1990s, I was told how – when the tanks from other countries moved in – the people, who were weaponless, left their homes and went up into the hills. They came back at night, when they took weapons – and lives – from the soldiers who had taken everything from them. And slowly, they took back their land from their oppressors.

I can see that happening here in the future.

I would rather it didn’t.

But it will, if people of good conscience don’t wake up, get up and put up a fight.

Keir Starmer won’t do it. He agrees with the Tories. That’s why he’s busy turning the Labour Party into Tory Lite Mk II (New Labour was Mk I) and accusing anybody who disagrees with him of anti-Semitism.

If you don’t want this to fall into violence, then you need to think what else you can do.

The ‘A’ level fiasco creates opportunities. Already some further education institutions have said they will take students who were downgraded, on the basis of their predicted results. Some haven’t. Clearly we should take note of the side that each University, each college, takes. Those who do the right thing should be rewarded in whatever ways we can. Those who do not should be shunned – meaning not only that we should not even try to send our children there, but that we should reject their graduates when they seek employment with our businesses. We know they won’t be any damn good anyway.

And employers who turn down applicants on the basis of the Tory algorithm’s discredited results should also be named, so we can stop buying their products.

That’s the best – non-violent – response I can conceive on the spur of the moment, and these things need to start happening now.

We’d better get to it, if we don’t want to roll over and die. And yes, that means you.

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Covid class war: Tories are forcing food poverty through the roof as poor people face risk of poisoning

Tory legacy: attendance at food banks has doubled due to the Conservatives’ handling of Covid-19.

How is Fat Boris Johnson going to justify his silly campaign to make people eat more healthily when so many of us are getting money from food banks, or buying the cheapest (and therefore least healthy) available because we can’t afford anything else?

A new report by the Food Standards Agency has revealed that the Covid-19 crisis – and the Conservative government’s decisions relating to it – have caused a huge increase in referrals to food banks.

Because the Tories couldn’t be bothered to ensure the financial security of the population at large, one-tenth of the UK’s poorest people are now using foodbanks, with huge numbers of people skipping meals.

Malnutrition and obesity are rife as people have been forced to cut out healthy foods in favour of “basic sustenance” diets.

People actually voted to inflict this on their fellow UK citizens and their children.

The FSA’s research tells us that the number of people in food insecurity in the UK – experiencing hunger, unable to secure food of sufficient quality and quantity to enable good health and social participation, and cutting down on food because of a lack of money – has doubled due to the Covid crisis. And it was high in the first place.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, around 16 per cent of adults experienced it – around 7.8 million people.

The government that the people elected last December has used the Covid crisis to double this figure. Now, around 15.6 million adults are in food insecurity.

So when the FSA says 10 per cent of respondents visited a food bank in June, this represents more than 1.5 million people.

And we know food banks have been struggling to find stock in the face of this demand, at a time when everybody has lost money apart from the super-rich (most of whom couldn’t care less about you).

The survey found that 23 per cent of people aged 16-24 had been forced to access food through a charity or food bank – but no figures were provided to show how many people that figure represents.

The only other group experiencing as much food insecurity was households with a child.

So the Tories have ensured that poor children are starving – even after having been knocked back in their plan to deny free school meals to poor kids during the holidays by footballer Marcus Rashford’s high-profile shaming.

If you are still in doubt that these findings are evidence of a Tory war against the poor, consider this, from the Guardian article about the FSA findings:

For the better off, Covid-19 has for many provided nutritional benefits, the FSA noted, with its tracker survey showing more people cooking at home from scratch using healthy ingredients rather than having takeaways or buying processed meals, as well as enjoying more family meals together.

These benefits were largely denied to people in food insecurity, whose diet narrowed sharply and was biased towards cheap carbohydrates like rice and pasta. One man, the FSA study found, “ate mostly tinned peas on toast; another woman mostly bread.” Many showed “early signs” of malnutrition. Others put on weight.

Many people … reported regularly eating food beyond its use-by date … Over a quarter said they drank milk that was past its use-by date. “Stretching out” food in this way put them at risk of food poisoning.

So the rich have become healthier while the poor are in danger of being poisoned.

This is due to decisions made by your Conservative government, which they say were necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

And they are inflicting it on people they persuaded into voting for them.

Source: UK’s poorest ‘skip meals and go hungry’ during coronavirus crisis | UK news | The Guardian

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The Tory squeeze is on: one in four adults are struggling to buy food in Covid-19 pandemic

A few coppers and some silver coins: all the Tories think you’re worth.

The Tories are using the Covid-19 crisis to force more of the UK’s struggling population into poverty, it seems, with increasing reliance on food banks as disposable incomes plummet:

One in four adults in the UK have struggled to access food they can afford during the coronavirus pandemic, leaving them susceptible to hunger and potential malnutrition, a new report warns.

Research by Feeding Britain and Northumbria University’s Healthy Living Lab indicates a far broader group of households, in addition to the poorest, are now struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table, often following a loss of earnings or problems with the benefits system.

The findings, based on a survey with 1,004 responses, shows nearly 25 per cent of adults looking after children have eaten less during the pandemic so they can feed them, while half have tried to cope by buying less expensive food they would not ordinarily choose to buy – a figure that rises to nine in 10 among adults who live in the poorest households.

Even strategies commonly used during lockdown – such as buying less expensive food, borrowing food, using food banks and restricting the food eaten – have not enabled adults to become food secure and live free of hunger and potential malnutrition, the report says.

It comes after figures published earlier this month revealed demand for food banks is greater than ever – with The Trussell Trust, the UK’s biggest network of food banks, handing out 89 per cent more food parcels in April compared with the same month last year, while the Independent Food Aid Network (Ifan) recorded a 175 per cent increase over the same period.

This is not an accident.

Other countries’ governments have been able to support their people through the crisis – most of them much poorer than the UK.

So this is a conscious choice by your Conservative masters; they are using Covid-19 to put you firmly in your place.

It seems they think that place is in debt – and this should come as no surprise. People who have to work long, hard hours trying to pay off debts that (no doubt) are increasing in spite of those efforts have no time or energy left to question the corrupt antics of their political leaders.

Think about that when you open your bank statement and find it is red.

Source: ‘Uphill struggle’: One in four adults struggling to afford food during coronavirus pandemic, study finds | The Independent

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Struggling food banks move towards home deliveries. Why not deliver government packages?

Food bank: they’re struggling in the coronavirus crisis, and diversifying into home delivery. Why not link up with the government, which is doing the same?

Duplication is a waste of effort.

But it seems both the government and the food bank network are arranging deliveries to people who have become vulnerable, including because of the coronavirus crisis.

Why don’t they just work together?

Many [food banks] are attempting to switch gears and move into the home delivery of emergency food packages.

Food banks across the UK are struggling to stay open as the coronavirus outbreak continues to cause a sharp decline in volunteers and a shortage of food donations.

It comes as a new survey revealed the scale of the hunger crisis facing Britain. Some 1.5 million people reported not eating for a whole day during the first three weeks of lockdown, according to a YouGov poll for The Food Foundation.

[In the new system,] drivers deliver to people struggling with job losses, cuts in income or difficultly getting outside for health reasons.

Source: Help the Hungry: Food banks move towards home deliveries amid struggle to keep doors open | The Independent

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Supermarket and superstar donate cash for coronavirus causes; Johnson remains a super-dud

James McAvoy: his contribution will help medical staff treat thousands of people.

Remember when B&M donated £1 million to food banks to bridge the supply gap caused by coronavirus?

We all praised that company to the hilt.

So let’s give at least as much praise to Morrisons for donating 10 times as much to food banks – in fresh food from its bakery, egg and fruit & vegetable packing sites.

And the supermarket firm is also encouraging donations by converting its now-closed in-store cafes into donation hubs.

And let’s also praise movie star James McAvoy, who has donated £275,000 of his own money to a crowdfunding campaign set up by doctors to raise money for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, visors and gloves.

Despite a claim by the government that there was no shortage of PPE, this has proved to be untrue. Three NHS doctors have died of coronavirus (so far) and we must ascribe some of those deaths to the fact that they have been treating people who have the disease – without the benefit of this vital equipment. Medical staff have likened the situation to “going to war without armour and protection”.

Mr McAvoy’s donation has hugely boosted the fund, which original had a target of £200,000 – only a fraction of his own donation. His contribution brought the total to £440,000 and it seems likely to hit its new target of half a million pounds.

The equipment this will buy will be a huge boost to the NHS – not just for the protection it will provide but also for the morale of medical staff.

Contrast this with the behaviour of Boris Johnson – who is spaffing £5.8 million on a letter to every UK household, telling us things we know already.

The letter has been well-trailed by the media. This Writer’s impression was that the only way it would do any good is if it was printed on paper that is soft, strong and absorbent (if you take my meaning).

Johnson would have served the public better by using the cash to buy more of the equipment we need to beat the virus.

Sadly, we have a prime minister who is more concerned with public relations than public service.

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B&M is donating £1million to UK food banks to fight coronavirus-related supply gap

This is wonderful news and B&M has set an excellent example for other businesses to follow.

I hope they will.

Food banks have been struggling as members of the public quit funding and donating to them in order to panic-buy goods in anticipation of the coronavirus crisis.

Discount retailer B&M [has] announced a national £1 million donation to support UK food banks.

Each one of its 670 stores will support a local foodbank with a £1,500 donation of food, cleaning and personal hygiene goods to reach struggling families.

Source: B&M is donating £1million to UK food banks amid coronavirus crisis – Birmingham Live

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Panic-buyers are starving food bank users of milk and other essentials

Vital: but the shelves of this Salford food bank may be fast emptying as donations of food and money fail in the panic over coronavirus.

What is this modern fad of panic-buying all the time? The current phase – prompted by the coronavirus – could do more to starve the poor than years of Tory persecution.

Panic-buying isn’t a new thing; every time there’s a bank holiday weekend, the shelves of This Writer’s local supermarkets empty as local residents stock up to avoid the hardships of a single extra day without a shop.

I don’t get it. Just do a normal weekly shop and you’ll be fine.

Worse still, as shelves are cleared of toilet rolls and hand sanitisers because of the coronavirus, it seems supermarkets are hiking the prices of these essentials – that should be dirt-cheap – in order to make a quick buck.

Shameful.

The knock-on effect is that food banks aren’t getting donations of milk and cereal, and are receiving less cash, because people are hoarding these things for themselves and spending their money on them.

The effect could be devastating:

Donations from shoppers at branches of Sainsbury’s and Waitrose slumped to 25% of their normal volume at one food bank in London, while they have fallen by a third at a Kirkcaldy food bank – where UHT milk has run out.

Some facilities have warned they may close because of concerns about cross-infection, and a food bank in Stonebridge, a deprived area of north-west London, will cut the size of its food parcels by a third from Wednesday, with larger families facing the biggest reductions.

“Panic is going to be more dangerous than the virus,” said Joyce Leggate, the chair of Kirkcaldy food bank, which helps up to 350 families a week. “Our food parcels are essential for the health of many of the people we support. The food can be a lifeline. Please, if you are stockpiling, have a look and say: ‘Am I really going to use this?’ If not, is there someone who needs it more?”

Organisers in Fife, Liverpool and Leicester have reported the unavailability of UHT milk, a key part of their food parcels to keep young children and expecting mothers healthy.

“Emergency food aid providers across the UK are already stretched to the limit and the impact of the spread of coronavirus can only make matters worse,” said Sabine Goodwin, the coordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network, which represents 189 food banks.

“[They] cannot be expected to support yet more people needing help if schools are closed and those depending on insecure work are forced to rely on charity if taken ill or self-isolating.”

James Quayle, the manager at North Paddington food bank in London, where donations are down to 25% of their normal volume: “It shows the safety net created by our food banks is very thin. The system is not very sustainable. This is another sign that more vulnerable people stand to be worse affected by coronavirus.”

The Tories must be delighted.

Their failure to act, and their provision of limp advice, has created a panic stampede for supplies in which the most vulnerable people are likely to be trampled to death underfoot.

The Tories have been grinding such vulnerable people under their heels for years.

This is exactly what they want and if you are among the panic-buyers, you are playing right into their hands.

Source: Food banks run out of milk and other staples as shoppers panic-buy | World news | The Guardian

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Is Plymouth the first city to report widespread STARVATION due to Tory policies?

I, Daniel Blake: in Ken Loach’s film, a single mother starves herself to feed her children. Eventually, desperate to eat, she rips open a tin of cold beans in a food bank and eats it. That scene is being repeated regularly, in real life, according to staff at the food bank in Plymouth.

This report on Plymouth Live should be shocking – but is it?

Some of us have lived with the consequences of Conservative government benefit deprivation for years, and have recorded many, many deaths arising from these cruel and unnecessary policies.

Now the food bank at Plymouth is reporting widespread starvation throughout that city.

The report states that more than a third of food voucher recipients there are children.

And some are in work that does not pay enough for them to afford food after paying off other household bills – once again proving false the Tory claim that the best way out of poverty is employment.

And never forget: there is plenty of money available – larger employers in particular are simply keeping the majority of it for themselves.

The psychological harm caused by this enforced starvation is clearly demonstrated by reports that people receiving parcels after days without food are bursting into tears, devouring food the instant they have it.

It’s a classic “softening up” technique, often used by torturers to make their victims more pliable.

And the Tories will have known this from the moment Iain Duncan Smith imposed Universal Credit on the first pilot area, many years ago.

But “softening up” for what? It can’t be for people to accept even less; when you already aren’t receiving enough to survive, there isn’t far to go.

So we are left with the uncomfortable reality:

Universal Credit is being used by the Conservatives to send perfectly good people to early graves.

Can anyone prove me wrong?

Source: Families in Plymouth are so poor they’re actually starving – Plymouth Live

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Universal Credit forces ‘sandwich at Christmas’ claimant to beg supermarkets for food

Faceless: Universal Credit is an attempt to avoid treating benefit claimants as people. It is easier to deprive you of everything if they don’t have to think of you as a person.

It took This Writer a while to understand this.

Not only did the Department for Work and Pensions – through its function (you can’t call it a benefit) Universal Credit – penalise a woman who has had several strokes, including a rare spinal cord stroke resulting in lack of mobility which means she needs to use a wheelchair…

Not only did it take so much away from Carol Brice of Bridgwater that her Christmas dinner was a sandwich

Not only was it pilloried by public opinion after this treatment became commonly-known…

But it hasn’t responded to that bad publicity at all, and Ms Brice has been forced to write to supermarkets, begging for food.

And…

Worst of all…

Those supermarkets have, in effect, told her to get lost.

They told her they only work with charities and she should go to a food bank.

Tory Britain, 2020.

They bury you in bureaucracy and when you try to dig yourself out, they ignore you altogether.

Source: Universal Credit claimant who had just a sandwich to eat on Christmas day begs supermarkets for food – Somerset Live

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Johnson’s Britain: thugs think it’s okay to vandalise a food bank and force people to starve

Vital: Food banks provide a lifeline to thousands of families the Tories have put on the breadline. But Tory divisiveness is encouraging vandals to attack them.

This is where divide-and-conquer policies like those of Boris Johnson take us.

He has taken a few leaves out of Adolf Hitler’s book, and it shows.

By creating division between people, he both distracts them from the harm he is doing to them all and drums up support for at least some of that harm when he pretends to take a side.

In fact, he doesn’t care about any of the antagonists he has created; he just wants to profit from the strife he has created.

In the latest manifestation of this, we see that vandals have attacked a food bank – not for a first time, but for the fifth.

Organisers have been forced to throw away hundreds of pounds worth of stock that has been spoiled.

And they fear they may have to close the facility altogether.

The vandals will be happy. They have caused a lot of unnecessary harm with a small act of hate.

And hundreds of families will go hungry. Maybe some of them will lose hope and commit suicide (plenty do). Maybe they’ll just starve. Who will care?

Source: Food bank forced to turn people away after vandals smash storage room windows | Metro News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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