The Department for Work and Pensions reckons that the rise of food banks has more to do with Christian evangelism than with helping people who can’t afford food because of Conservative government policies.
According to Political Scrapbook, DWP director Neil Couling said: “For the Trussell Trust, food banks started as an evangelical device to get religious groups in touch with their local communities.”
Has Mr Couling forgotten Iain Duncan Smith’s ‘Road to Damascus’ moment on the housing estates of Easterhouse and Gallowgates in Glasgow in 2002?
Struck by the run-down housing, visible signs of drug abuse and general lack of hope, Roman Catholic Duncan Smith set out – with evangelical zeal – to do something about it.
He now sits in a government that kicks people out of their run-down houses and turns the lack of hope into abject despair by cutting off the benefits they need to survive (his government has pushed wages even further below the amount necessary for people to be able to live without government assistance than ever before).
As New Statesman columnist Laurie Penny puts it, Duncan Smith pretends to be “on a quasireligious, reforming crusade”, approaching his work with “particular fervour and self-righteous indignation”.
So, really, who do you think is misusing the plight of the very poor as an “evangelical device” for his own “quasireligious” ends?
Couling’s attitude defies belief. He refers to a report from Oxfam – one of Britain’s most highly-respected anti-poverty charities – together with Church Action on Poverty and the Trussell Trust, as “unverified figures from disparate sources”.
Okay, then. How about the DWP supplying us with all the figures it collects, and we’ll do the working-out?
We can start with the deaths of people receiving incapacity benefits.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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