Tag Archives: hungry

Families are going hungry because of Conservatism, not the coronavirus

Tories harm children: the coronavirus is just the latest excuse they’re using.

Why should we be surprised? The Tories have a history of lying when they say we’re all in it together.

It seems our caring government has engineered the coronavirus crisis to ensure that the number of households with children going hungry has doubled since lockdown began.

Millions of people are struggling to afford basic food items as parents lose income and both the school meal voucher scheme and food banks are overwhelmed:

New data … has revealed that almost a fifth of households with children have been unable to access enough food in the past five weeks, with meals being skipped and children not getting enough to eat as already vulnerable families battle isolation and a loss of income.

The strain on larger families, single parent homes and those with disabled children has been immense. A reported 30 per cent of lone parents and 46 per cent of parents with a disabled child are facing food insecurity and finding it difficult to manage basic nutritional needs at home.

With schools no longer providing a reprieve for children reliant on free breakfast clubs and school lunches, poorer families are at crisis point.

A government scheme to give pupils food vouchers worth £15 a week until schools reopen has been beset with problems, with many parents unable to download the vouchers or redeem them in supermarkets.

According to the Food Foundation, of the 621,000 children who were accessing free breakfast clubs before the pandemic, only 136,000 are being provided with an alternative. However, 31% of children entitled to free school meals are still not getting any substitute, leaving more than 500,000 children going without.

Food banks have been overwhelmed with demand during the lockdown. Last Friday, the Trussell Trust reported an 81 per cent increase in people needing support from its food banks at the end of March compared with the same period last year.

Demand from children for food-bank services had also increased by 121 per cent. The Independent Food Network reported a similar surge, with a 59 per cent increase in demand for emergency food support between February and March.

This is not an accident. The Conservatives are deliberately using the pandemic to punish the most vulnerable in society yet again – and to bring those who had been more secure down to the same level.

It’s ironic. Many of these families are likely to have voted Conservative in December, thinking they were bringing stability and security to the country.

Instead their votes have doomed their families – and themselves.

No doubt they’ll convince themselves that starvation is the price they’re paying to be free of the virus.

But Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock look very well-fed to me.

There is no need for anybody in the UK to go hungry. There hasn’t been any reason for hunger here since the 1950s.

The coronavirus isn’t causing it.

The Conservatives are.

Source: Exclusive: almost a fifth of UK homes with children go hungry in lockdown | Society | The Guardian

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Coronavirus: Three million people go hungry because the Tories won’t introduce Universal Basic Income

 

Radical solution: It’s unlikely that the government would really want us to adopt the methods of Hannibal Lecter, but its current policies are little better.

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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Police provide 128 meals for the hungry of Newcastle

cropped-foodbank.jpgHere’s a heart-warming story from Paul Timney on Facebook:

“Just been accosted by my local POLICE. !!! BUT, GOOD !! was walking past poliss station, (Newcastle) CID bloke (who I know ) says ” still helpin THE HUNGRY ? ….” my reply ; saying NOWT ! He sez ….. ” wa freezers f****d , got loads in ! ,” ….So I axed ” Like what ? ” he sez ” Breakfasts and Pie dinnas” Me, says, YES ! So went in (voluntarilly ) and came out wi 46 dinners and 82 Breakfasts ! All semi defrosted , use by date 2019 .Ma freezers full , so been on phone 2 local HELPS. ; ;people coming … .. I wud never of thort to ask at Police station 4 food. Thanx N.P.F. (Etal Lane)”

The use of language is a little inventive so for those having trouble, it seems the freezers at Etal Lane Police Station, in Newcastle, have broken.

They contained 82 breakfasts and 46 dinners which were thawing out.

So a member of Newcastle CID called out to Mr Timney, knowing he helps people who go hungry (due to any number of reasons, including poverty, no doubt) – possibly at a food bank, although I don’t know him well enough to say anything for certain – and offered him the food.

It’s an act of kindness that many may consider extraordinary, as it came from the police – and that is precisely why I thought it was worth flagging up.

Let’s hope other authority figures follow the example – or perhaps even try to overturn the legislation that has forced people to turn to food banks.

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Do you want your children to starve?

Well? Do you want your kids to starve?

The Guardian has reported that budget cuts are forcing the closure of breakfast clubs in primary schools across the country – despite increased demand. The research, by Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, shows 40 per cent of councils are cutting back.

This means vulnerable children will be going to school hungry and will therefore be unable to concentrate in lessons.

Think about the consequences of this. If they can’t concentrate because of hunger, they’re likely to misbehave – and this could set a precedent for the rest of their lives. Malnourishment leads to misbehaviour, leading to what? Crime, perhaps?

At the very least, the inability to concentrate means their grades will drop and their academic careers will fail – in some cases, before they have had a chance to get going.

Who knows how many will develop health problems associated with malnutrition?

This will happen, not because they are “bad kids” or because they are “academically sub-normal”, but because they come from poor families. The rich, meanwhile, will streak ahead in the race for The Good Life.

The Guardian reports that Essex County Council said it had 219 breakfast clubs in schools last year, but 169 this year. In Surrey, 2,870 children were being given breakfast last year but only 1,200 in 2012. That’s creating 1,670 potential problem children.

All this is happening in the country with the seventh largest economy in the world.

A Department for Education spokesman acknowledged the importance of the service, but said it was up to schools how they spent the funds they were given. The “pupil premium”, aimed at the most disadvantaged children, would be doubled, the DFE said, but not until 2014-15 – in time to buy your votes at the 2015 election, perhaps?

Until then, do you really want your kids to starve?

The benefits system is failing thousands of people every week, forcing more and more of them to seek help from Britain’s growing number of food banks. “Breadline Britain”, under the Tory-led Coalition, is now a literal expression. Previously it was just metaphorical.

The Trussell Trust, which runs the UK’s biggest food bank, in Coventry, is opening new food banks at the rate of three per week.

Almost half the people who go to food banks are there because of benefit changes. the Department for Work and Pensions does not work fast enough to arrange benefits for when claimants need them, leaving poor people in crisis for weeks, or months, at a time. Then the debts start racking up.

Sanctions, imposed as temporary punishments by the new benefits regime, are also adding to the queue at the food banks. Since 2010, the number of people getting their Jobseeker’s Allowance suspended has spiked, and we all know that the disability tests introduced for Employment and Support Allowance (and soon to come in for Disability Living Allowance) are causing hardship and – in fact – death for Britain’s most vulnerable people.

Sanction or disallowance of benefits happened to 167,000 people in the three months up to February 2012.

What do people do for money when the State fails them and they can’t get work? They fall into the debt trap.

High-interest, doorstep lending to poor people is Britain’s latest – perhaps only – boom industry. In other words, the government’s sick benefits regime is forcing the poor into debt to organisations that will take away everything they have left, in order to make up payments on a loan whose interest rate they probably made up on the spot.

And when they’ve taken everything, what do you do then?

Do you really want your kids to starve?