Tag Archives: Trussell Trust

Charity report highlights how Tories have pushed benefit claimants into poverty

Food bank queue: The Conservative Party will only increase the number of people forced to seek help from charities like the Trussell Trust. The only answer is a change of government.

Food bank charity the Trussell Trust has published research showing how the Conservative government has pushed people into extreme poverty, when it should have been helping them avoid it.

It states that the Tory benefit system, ill health, and a lack of support from local authorities are the three main causes of hunger and destitution in the UK.

Tory cuts to benefit payments, being turned down for disability benefits, being sanctioned, and delays in payments like the five week wait for Universal Credit are cited as key problems with benefits – all are due to Conservative cruelty.

Not only that, but almost three-quarters of people at food banks have a health issue, or live with someone who does. This is the Tory obsession with persecuting people who have long-term illnesses and/or disabilities. I have often compared it with the Nazi eugenics programme to rid society of “useless eaters”.

The report, State of Hunger 2019, says foodbank users are left with an average of £50 a week to buy food and pay vital household bills after housing costs.

It reveals that almost one in five households have no money coming in at all in the month before being referred to a food bank.

The research shows that 94% of people at food banks are destitute, almost three-quarters of people at food banks live in households affected by ill-health or disability, 22% of food bank users are single parents – compared to 5% in the UK population – and more than three-quarters are in rent arrears.

Most people referred to Trussell Trust food banks are in receipt of some form of social security payment, with many being in-work and dependent on benefits, tax credits or Universal Credit to top-up low wages. So much for the Tory claim that work is the best way out of poverty!

Not only that, but the report states: “More than half of people at food banks live in households affected by a mental health problem, with anxiety and depression the most common.

“A quarter of people live in households where someone has a long-term physical condition; one in six has a physical disability; and one in 10 has a learning disability, or live with someone who does.”

The report adds: “Ill health often increases living costs and may be a barrier to doing paid work.” Isn’t that precisely the point?

The charity has called on the UK Government to end the minimum five-week-wait for Universal Credit, ensure that benefit payments cover the “true cost of living”, and provide increased and ring-fenced funding for councils to allow them to provide local crisis support.

I would go further: we need a change of government. The Conservatives will never willingly stop persecuting the poor, the sick and the disabled; they love it too much. The only solution is to rid the UK of their tyranny.

You can read more about the report in this Welfare Weekly article.

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Hypocritical Tories try gaslighting us with foodbank photocalls – but is something more serious behind it?

Tory porn: The ever-increasing food bank queue is entirely due to Conservative Party policies like Universal Credit and any claim to be concerned is the height of hypocrisy.

What is going on at the Trussell Trust?

Britain’s biggest food bank charity was once one of the wolves at the Tory government’s door; now it seems to be Theresa May’s poodle.

Has it been nobbled with another of the Tories’ famous gagging contracts, in which charities are blackmailed into promising not to criticise or embarrass the government or face the loss of funding? That seems possible – the Conservatives were threatening it, way back in 2014.

As Mrs May and her vile government of the privileged stares into the abyss being opened up by their failure of a Brexit deal, down which their support is likely to fall, it seems clear that they need to build up their profile if they are to have any chance at all in a snap general election.

So a series of photo opportunities in which MPs like Dominic Raab, Claire Perry, Ross Thomson and Stephen Crabb pretend to care about the people their policies have forced into food poverty – most obviously wherever Universal Credit has been rolled out – presumably seems a worthwhile wheeze. And Tesco seems to be getting a lot of free advertising from it!

We all need to be aware that they aren’t showing they care about us.

They’re taking the piss out of the poor – and they’re doing it to a script:

Click on the images in the tweet above to see a series of identical tweets from Conservative MPs working to that script.

But if they think we’re too stupid to see through this grotesque attempt at gaslighting, they need to think again. Witness:

Charlotte, who writes the Poor Side of Life blog which features true stories of people living at the sharp end of cruel Conservative policies that are geared towards harming the poor, also tweeted:

Hasan Patel told us:

Video legend EL4JC stated:

Ray Tallis pointed out:

Clare Hepworth directly addressed prime minister Theresa May:

She added, more generally:

Individual MPs came in for specific criticism, including Stephen Crabb:

Dominic Raab set himself up for particularly harsh – and totally deserved – criticism:

In response, David Schneider tweeted: “In predictable news, man who failed to realise we’re an island fails to realise connection between Tory policy and the poverty caused by Tory policy.

John Clarke suggested: “Alternative Headline: ‘Dominic Raab thanks turkeys for voting for Christmas!’ Dominic added: “Thank you, turkeys, I mean that most sincerely. No need for you to thank us humans for providing you with warm accommodation and a painless death at this time of year.”

Rachel Clarke (I have no idea if they’re related, although I doubt it) pointed to the facts: “Mr Raab, you cannot be unaware that the Trussell Trust’s own stats show >50% increase in food bank use in areas where universal credit was rolled out. Your policies have *created* this crisis and your faux concern is the height of hypocrisy.”

Libelling Tory misandrist Claire Perry, who falsely accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of anti-Semitism and regularly accuses men who take a different opinion from her own of “mansplaining”, was out opening a food bank in Devizes. She never thought for a moment that the opening of a food bank is no cause for joy. Fortunately James Colwell was available to explain – not “mansplain” – it to her:

https://twitter.com/J_A_Colwell/status/1069143080178200578

Dave Ward added: “Look at the state of this. A Tory MP smiles as she opens a foodbank. A true measure of an improving society would be closing foodbanks not opening them. They truly have no shame.”

Woflie wondered: “Doesn’t Claire Perry realise that every food bank that opens is proof that the Tory Government is failing? Is she really that stupid?”

Answers please to [email protected] on Twitter.

And Frances Ryan, who writes so movingly about the Tories’ benefit brutality, added: “Tories having a brilliant time at food banks is my new obsession.”

It was up to Steve Peers to make the obvioius overarching point – and he made it well:

“The only photo that could leave a positive impression is a Tory MP with a food bank closing due to a genuine lack of need for it.”

So these food bank photo op Tories have all failed.

Instead of making themselves look like champions of the people, they have drawn attention to their own heartlessness.

Related to this is the emergence of new Tory general election candidates. Put this together with the food bank photo opportunities and it suggess they have to be getting ready for something – right?

The Labour Whips’ Twitter feed came out with the obvious: “Nothing to see here, just Theresa May and the Tories getting ready for that General Election she says won’t happen…”

But here’s a thing: Commentators across the mainstream media are telling us that, even if Mrs May loses a vote on her rubbish Brexit deal, she won’t lose the “no confidence” vote that the Labour Party will inevitably demand afterwards.

If that were true, we would not be seeing this attempt to charm the public.

I would certainly advise constituency Labour parties to make sure they have a prospective Parliamentary candidate in place. If this means deselecting one of the centrists who have been such a hindrance to Labour since 2015, they need to get on with it now.

It would be grimly humorous if the Tory attempt at jollying up the public was what alerted us to their election plans.

Food bank use has rocketed because it is impossible to survive on the Tory benefit system

A food bank: This one is in Salford.

What is the point of the UK’s financial deficit reaching its lowest level since 2007, if the country’s citizens are being left destitute, families split, and individuals driven towards suicide because the government has deliberately taken away all means of supporting themselves?

That is the question we should be asking after the Trussell Trust revealed that use of its food banks rocketed by 13 per cent in the year from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

The charity’s foodbank network distributed 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, a 13 per cent increase on the previous year. 484,026 of these went to children.

This is a higher increase than the previous financial year, when foodbank use was up by 6.64 per cent.

It has been claimed that the increase is because the Conservative government has failed to ensure that benefit payments can cover the cost of everyday essentials.

Not only that, but delays in providing benefits to new claimants – particularly the hated Universal Credit – were responsible for a large proportion of food bank referrals.

According to the Trussell Trust: “‘Low income – benefits, not earning’ is the biggest single, and fastest growing, reason for referral to a food bank, with ‘low income’ accounting for 28 per cent of referrals UK-wide compared to 26 per cent in the previous year. Analysis of trends over time demonstrates it has significantly increased since April 2016, suggesting an urgent need to look at the adequacy of current benefit levels.

“The other main primary referral reasons in 2017-18 were benefit delays (24 per cent) and benefit changes (18 per cent). New data about the types of benefit change driving food bank use is clear: whilst referrals due to ‘benefit sanction’ have declined over the last year, those due to ‘reduction in benefit value’ have the fastest growth rate of all referrals made due to a benefit change, and those due to ‘moving to a different benefit’ have also grown significantly.

“Universal Credit is not the only benefit people at food banks are experiencing issues with, but it is a significant factor in many areas. New analysis of food banks that have been in full UC rollout areas for a year or more shows that these projects experienced an average increase of 52 per cent in the twelve months after the full rollout date in their area. Analysis of food banks either not in full UC areas, or only in full rollout areas for up to three months, showed an average increase of 13 per cent.”

The Trust also said a survey of 284 people on UC, who had been referred to food banks, showed the adverse impact of the initial wait, the lack of available statutory support, the inability of UC payments to cover the cost of living for people who most need it, and poor administration.

The charity is consequently calling for benefit levels to be uprated in line with inflation to ensure payments keep pace with the cost of living, particularly for disabled people and families with dependent children who are particularly at risk of needing a foodbank, and for a requirement to be placed upon Local Authorities to deliver a true Universal Support service to everyone who starts a Universal Credit claim.

It is also asking for an urgent inquiry into poor administration within Universal Credit, so errors such as incorrect payments along with poor communication issues can be tackled.

Clearly, the Trussell Trust is not expecting to bid for any contracts from the Department for Work and Pensions in the near future, as organisations working for the rogue government department are bound by contract not to do anything that harms confidence in the DWP or its secretary of state, Esther McVey. The charity’s findings are clear evidence of the reason for this contractual requirement.

In Scotland, the rise in food bank use was higher than the UK average, according to the Daily Record which stated: “In the past year, the Trussell Trust reported a 17 per cent increase in people depending on their help to live, with 170,625 three-day emergency food supplies handed to those in crisis – of which 55,038 went to children.

“The Scottish rise was higher than the UK average increase of 13 per cent.

“Data for 2017-18 shows that benefit delays and sanctions remain the biggest reason for people being referred.”

The Daily Mirror hammered home the cruelty of the Conservative policy that Ms McVey is cruelly following, with the story of a woman who considered giving up her children in order to make sure they could eat.

That’s right: These filthy Conservatives are deliberately starving families into splitting up.

The paper quoted Trussell Trust chief executive Emma Revie, who said: “We collected stories of a stroke victim left with nothing when discharged from hospital as their benefits were stopped.

“A woman whose husband suffers from PTSD with money for the electric heating.

“And even a mother who considered giving up her own two children while she waited for her Universal Credit to come in so that they could finally get some food.

“Tens of billions of pounds have been taken out of our welfare system in recent years, and this process shows no signs of stopping.”

She was also quoted as saying for many UC is simply “not enough to make ends meet” and leaves people “locked into debt, hunger, destitution and misery”.

But don’t worry about that – public sector borrowing has dropped to £42.6 billion in the last financial year!

Strangely, none of the reports about the financial improvement seem to be explaining how it was managed.

Maybe it is bad for business to report a financial boost built on misery, poverty and suicide.


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Here’s why the Trussell Trust and Citizens Advice’s demands on Universal Credit don’t go far enough

Theresa May is coming under pressure over the rollout of Universal Credit [Image: REX].

The problem with Universal Credit won’t be solved by “pausing” its rollout.

The system is inherently flawed, in that it allows Conservatives to harm benefit claimants by – for example – delaying their payments or inflicting unreasonable conditions on them.

It is inherently flawed because in households with more than one earner, the taper rate – the amount of Universal Credit withdrawn as earnings increase – is greater than under the current system of tax credits.

And of course, it is inherently flawed in that it was originally intended to be entirely computerised and in that sense it simply doesn’t work at all.

Put those issues together and the reputational damage to UC – and to the Department for Work and Pensions that spawned it – is too great.

Both should be scrapped.

Britain’s biggest foodbank charity has demanded a temporary halt to a benefits shake-up that’s leaving people stranded without cash for months.

The Trussell Trust said problems with Universal Credit had forced demand on one of its centres up by 67%.

The mammoth all-in-one system is slowly replacing six benefits including jobseekers’ allowance and Tax Credits.

But not only has it been delayed seven times, it’s sparked fury by delaying initial payments [to claimants] who transfer onto the benefit.

MPs have repeatedly heard of people waiting three months for payments to come through.

The Trussell Trust gave out nearly 1.2million emergency food parcels last year, its highest number ever and up from 61,000 in 2010/11.

Chief executive Mark Ward said: “Foodbanks tell us that Universal Credit is inadvertently leaving people without any money for six or more weeks, leading to debt, rental arrears, and poor mental health.

“We are concerned this will only get worse as winter approaches and more pressure will be put on stretched voluntary groups left to step in and help in the absence of other practical support.”

The Trust has joined a call already made by Citizens Advice for the roll-out to be halted “until appropriate emergency financial support is available and accessible to all people left with no income or food in the cupboard.”

Read more: Britain’s biggest foodbank charity demands halt to benefit shake-up that’s leaving people with no cash for months


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“Hey, you! Don’t buy that Christmas single! Buy this!” Or why not buy ’em all?

The cover to Hobo’s Christmas, by Guy Calhoun.

It seems there’s a slight controversy about which political Christmas single we should all be buying.

Should it be the single in memory of Jo Cox – a cover of The Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want?

The Stones themselves have waived their claim on royalties, meaning more money from each sale will go to the Jo Cox Foundation – and bookmaker William Hill has said it will donate money staked on the single being Christmas Number One to charity.

You can use this link to buy it, and here’s the video:

Or should it be the piece in support of Jeremy Corbyn, JC4PM4ME?

All profits from this one go to food bank charity The Trussell Trust, it is available here on CD/Vinyl, here on download, and there’s a video as well:

… and then this morning This Blog received a comment from ‘malsainsbury’ about another Christmas song, by her son Guy Calhoun.

It’s called Hobo’s Christmas. All proceeds will be donated to charities supporting the homeless, and This Writer has a soft spot for it because the video was shot in my original home city, Bristol.

You can buy it here, and – guess what? – there’s a video:

Whatever you think of these songs – and I’ve seen some fairly vitriolic remarks about the ‘Jeremy Corbyn’ single – they have all been created with good intent, to help charities and the people who rely on them.

Whether you buy one, all, or none of them is up to you.

If you do buy any of them – have a Merry Christmas! You’ll be helping others to do the same.

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Osborne wants to raid the Lottery and rob food banks to pay for his spending cuts


He has tried raiding tax credits and Universal Credit; he has considered cutting Housing Benefit. Now it seems George Osborne is planning to take money from charities to pay for his spending cuts.

It seems he wants to cut government funding for the arts (again!) and top it up with cash taken from the National Lottery.

The Lottery money is earmarked for charities, so they will lose out.

Isn’t it interesting that, back in 2010, David Cameron was looking to charities for help in providing services that spending cuts meant the Coalition Government would not be able to provide, as part of his white elephant ‘Big Society’ project?

Now it seems he’ll be rubber-stamping Osborne’s plan to wreck any such substitute provision.

Oh, and if the Big Lottery Fund takes a massive hit, guess what will be among the biggest losers?

Food banks.

Whitehall leaks show the Chancellor wants to nick £320million from the Big Lottery fund in Wednesday’s spending review, the Sunday People reports.

The money is earmarked for good causes, but Mr Osborne could get his hands on it by slashing Government arts spending.

Lottery money would then be diverted to compensate the Arts Council and other bodies for losing taxpayer cash.

Sir Stuart Etherington of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations said: “It would be hugely damaging to the lottery if players saw it as financing a government slush fund to compensate for spending cuts.”

Source: Keep your hands off our Lottery fund, cash-strapped charities tell George Osborne – Mirror Online

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Tories run from welfare debate after Cameron’s Marr Show disaster

Tonight’s edition of the BBC’s Newsnight did not feature Conservative or Labour Parliamentary candidates in a debate on welfare – because the Conservative Party pulled out at the last minute, according to a tweet from Labour’s shadow Work and Pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves.

Fellow tweeter Anita Bellows immediately asked: “What have they got to hide?” including this image as an attachment:

150421clapson

The reference is obvious – David Clapson is the benefit claimant whose case was raised by Andrew Marr in his interview with David Cameron on Sunday.

Cameron’s responses indicate that he seems to think it was right for Mr Clapson to die as punishment for missing a single Job Centre appointment (for reasons that have not been disclosed). He refused to accept that the system should be reviewed.

The interview caused outrage among members of the public and now we can see the Conservatives’ reaction.

Like all bullies, they like to torture the weak. When public opinion rises up against them and they have a choice between “fight” and “flight”, they run like rabbits.

Here’s why:

150421cameronwelfare

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Did David Cameron admit multiple murders to Andrew Marr?

David Cameron tries to defend the indefensible on Andrew Marr's Sunday morning TV show.

David Cameron tries to defend the indefensible on Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning TV show.

Soon-to-be-former Prime Minister David Cameron, the man who once told us a government should be judged on how well it treats the most vulnerable in society, showed us all exactly what he meant in his interview with Andrew Marr.

It means he is quite happy for them to die, as punishment for failing to attend an interview at the Job Centre. Grilled over his attitude, he made it clear that he was perfectly happy to allow the continuation of a system that kills – if it saves money.

Read it for yourself (transcript courtesy of kittysjones’ blog, boldings mine):

AM:. Well you also talked to Evan Davis about the £22 billion of welfare cuts you’ve made so far as if that was easy. Do you accept that has hurt a lot of poor and vulnerable people?

DC: Well it has involved difficult decisions. But of course as we’ve done that we’ve been getting two million people into work, 900,000 people…

AM: Difficult decisions for you; a lot of real pain and suffering for people out there.

DC: Well, we have protected, for instance, the pension, we’ve protected benefits for the lowest paid, we’ve always made sure that we’ve increased spending on disability benefits rather than reduced it. But crucially the 900,000 people we’ve got off welfare and into work – that has actually saved money but it’s also been good for our country and crucially good for them: a job is the best route out of poverty that there is [a lie; more working people are having to claim benefits, because their jobs don’t pay enough, than workless families and pensioners combined].

AM: What about the million people depending on food banks?

DC: Well obviously I want a country where people don’t depend on food banks, we did something-

AM: But why are more people depending on food banks?

DC: One of the things we did was that Labour – because they didn’t like the PR of this – they didn’t advertise or promote the existence of food banks through job centres. We changed that because we thought that was, that was basically sort of selfish and shortminded…

AM: And according to the Trussell Trust, who run these banks, that accounts for just three per cent of people using food banks at the moment so it’s not a significant thing. But can I take you to an individual case, James [he meant David] Clapson.

Clapson, who was a former soldier, worked very hard for a long time then was on benefits, failed to turn up to two job centre interviews, [Mr Clapson only missed one interview] had his benefits removed for a month. He was diabetic, his insulin couldn’t be refrigerated and he died two weeks later.

Now that is the kind of case that is coming up again and again and again and shows that the welfare cuts have been agonisingly painful for real people out there.

DM: Well we have hardship funds and councils have hardship funds for exactly those sorts of tragic cases but if you’re asking me…

AM: It didn’t work.

DC: If you are asking me, is it right that people who are asked to turn up for interviews or asked to fill in a CV or asked to apply for a job should have to do those things before getting benefits then yes – it’s right that we do have that system in place. But we always, as I put it on the steps of…

AM: But the system has been very very aggressive. Another case [is] of a man who had learning difficulties and filled in his form by hand rather than by computer and was refused benefits. There [are] lots of these cases as you won’t have a review. You should have a review of the system surely?

DC: I look at all of those individual cases and all of those cases can be addressed by the hardship funds and by the flexibilities that are there in the system. But we have sanctions for a reason; people watching this programme…

AM: You don’t get the hardship fund for two weeks.

So there you have it. David Clapson was sanctioned off-benefit for no very good reason (as is typical in the Conservative-run system). David Cameron thinks that is okay. He was unable to receive hardship funds for two weeks. David Cameron thinks that is okay.

He died. Because David Cameron thinks the sanctions and the rules for hardship funds are okay, he therefore must be perfectly comfortable with David Clapson’s death.

David Cameron has also refused to review the system, despite being told that Clapson’s is one of many, many cases and despite saying that he personally examines all such cases.

Clearly he is, therefore, perfectly comfortable with the mass deaths of benefit claimants, the sick and the disabled that have taken place under his government’s rules.

This blog has long argued that any deaths of benefit claimants that have taken place because of failings in the system are regrettable but do not, individually, mean that anybody is personally responsible.

However, this blog has also argued – for many years – that this ceases to be the case when the government is made aware of the deaths and either fails – or intentionally ignores – the need to review and change the system.

In such cases, it becomes clear that the intention is to cause those deaths.

If deaths take place due to the gross negligence of a person or people responsible for an organisation such as a government department, that is corporate homicide.

If deaths take place because such a person has been informed of the risk to life and refused to take action, there is a strong argument to state, that is murder.

(The refusal to take action implies an intention for people to lose their lives.)

Therefore there is a strong argument that David Cameron has confessed that his party has participated in the murder of many benefit claimants.

Does he deserve your vote?

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Foodbank figures top 900,000 – Trussell Trust

people-helped-stats

New figures from food bank charity the Trussell Trust show that almost three times as many people received its package of three days’ emergency food and support in 2013-14 as did in the previous year.

The number of adults and children receiving help increased by a staggering 163 per cent, rising from 346,992 to 913,138.

Static incomes, rising living costs, low pay, underemployment and problems with welfare, especially sanctioning, are significant drivers of the increased demand, according to the Trussell Trust’s report. 83 percent of Trussell Trust foodbanks surveyed recently reported that benefits sanctions, which have become increasingly harsh, have caused more people to be referred to them for emergency food. Half of referrals to foodbanks in 2013-14 were a result of benefit delays or changes.

“That 900,000 people have received three days’ food from a foodbank, close to triple the numbers helped last year, is shocking in 21st century Britain,” said the trust’s chairman, Chris Mould. “But perhaps most worrying of all this figure is just the tip of the iceberg of UK food poverty, it doesn’t include those helped by other emergency food providers, those living in towns where there is no foodbank, people who are too ashamed to seek help or the large number of people who are only just coping by eating less and buying cheap food.

“Unless there is determined policy action to ensure that the benefits of national economic recovery reach people on low-incomes we won’t see life get better for the poorest anytime soon.”

Whilst there has been a 163 percent increase in foodbank use, there has only been a 45 percent increase in the number of new Trussell Trust foodbanks opening in the last year – putting the lie to claims in the press earlier this year that the trust was exaggerating the size of the problem in order to promote itself.

The Trussell Trust’s figures further reinforce evidence from the recent government-commissioned DEFRA report that increased foodbank use is not a question of supply, but of meeting a real and growing need.

The rate of new foodbanks opening has reduced from three a week in 2012/13 to two a week in 2013/14. The Trussell Trust has launched more than 400 foodbanks across the UK to date.

Foodbanks that have been open for three years or more have seen an average increase of 51% in numbers helped in 2013-14 compared to 2012-13, showing that well established foodbanks are experiencing significant uplift in demand.

Vox Political says: If you want to know the real state of the economy, look at how people on the lowest incomes are surviving. These figures show up today’s (September 18) employment and inflation figures for the Con that they are.

(Thanks to glynismillward189 for sourcing the information from the Trussell Trust.)

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Food bank charity told to stop criticising benefit system or face shut-down – by the government

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What would you do in that situation?

It seems that food bank charity The Trussell Trust has been making too many waves around the Conservative-led Coalition government’s policies regarding benefits, social security and welfare.

Readers may recall how the charity warned that Coalition policies had created a need for a huge expansion in the number of food banks across the UK. The Tories countered this by accusing the trust of “misleading and emotionally manipulative publicity-seeking”, and also of “aggressively marketing [its] services”.

After this failed to make a dent in public opinion, the Daily Mail tried to discredit the trust by claiming it was handing out food parcels without checking whether the people claiming them were bona fide.

But it turned out that the paper’s claim of “inadequate checks on who claims the vouchers, after a reporter obtained three days’ worth of food simply by telling staff at a Citizens Advice Bureau – without any proof – that he was unemployed” was not true. The reporter in fact committed fraud by telling a string of lies in order to falsely claim his food parcel in a flagrant abuse of the system.

The public response was immediate – donations to the Trussell Trust’s fundraising appeal shot through the roof.

Now the government has tried a different tack: blackmail. Instead of trying to justify the government’s position or undermine that taken by the trust in public, it has been revealed that, recently, “someone in power” told trust bosses that the government “might try to shut you down” if the trust continued to cause it embarrassment.

This detail was revealed while Trussell Trust chairman Chris Mould was giving evidence to the Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector this week.

The Trussell Trust is in a fairly robust position with regard to government interference; a 2005 decision by the charity’s trustees to avoid seeking government funding means it is in a better position to resist pressure.

But the trust has to consider the worst-case scenario. If the government did manage to shut it down, hundreds of thousands of people would starve.

That is the real threat posed by the Conservative-led government. Shutting down the Trussell Trust won’t hurt anybody who runs the charity or volunteers for it.

But it could kill food bank users across the country.

It is exactly the kind of covert, backstabbing move we have come to expect from the likes of Iain Duncan Smith.

Oh, come on! You knew RTU (it means Returned To Unit and is our tribute to his Army career) would figure in this article somewhere.

According to Mr Mould, he received a phone call from “someone” in the office of the Secretary-in-a-State about Work and Pensions, back in 2011. He said it was “basically to tell me that the boss was very angry with us because we were publicising the concerns we have over the rising number of people who were struggling as a consequence of delays and inefficiences in the benefits system”.

Unfortunately – for sly abusers like Duncan Smith – the kind of threats recorded above are really only useful when they are kept secret. The idea is always to present the victim with a double-bind – in this case, not only would food bank users suffer, but the Trussell Trust would get the blame for having withdrawn the service (whether voluntarily or not).

Now that we all know the government itself is putting the screws on – and is doing so in retaliation against the Trussell Trust’s entirely legitimate attempts to raise awareness of government policies’ disastrous effects – it would be electoral suicide.

That being said, watch Iain Duncan Smith on Question Time today.

He’s probably stupid enough to go through with it anyway.

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