The Welfare State Isn’t Doing Enough for Breadline Britain

September 24, 2013 3:27 pm

In lieu of the vicious cuts to the welfare system, Britain is increasingly watching their working class slide further into poverty. Meanwhile, politicians continue to preach the false dogma of the ‘feckless poor’ and weave a tale of the goodies (strivers) versus the baddies (skivers). As if any social problem could be reduced to such a simplistic dichotomy.

Ironically, Education Secretary Michael Gove has accused users of food banks of being ‘not able to manage their finances,’ when the Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for financial mismanagement on a grand scale – many food bank users find themselves asking for aid because benefit payments have either been miscalculated or delayed.

When so many people are living hand-to-mouth, these absent payments can leave them in rent arrears and even with significant bank charges, when bills payments have bounced.

 

breadlineFood Banks And Their Struggle To Feed The Poor

The number one reason cited for the drastic use of food banks has been named as the government’s welfare cuts. It’s estimated that more than 500,000 people are now reliant on their local food bank – the number of inquiries has increased by 78% in the last six months alone.

As an emergency service, food banks are willing to help, but the sudden, staggering demand is taking its toll on these charities. Food banks do not address the underlying causes of poverty and they cannot heal the deep wounds to the welfare system that the Government has left behind with their cuts. Food banks shouldn’t have to replace state support, when financial aid has been abandoned.

 

Poverty In The UK

The social safety net is failing the most vulnerable in society, while wealthy individuals and corporations neglect to pay their fair share of taxes. Those on benefits are continually stigmatised and stereotyped as freeloaders or cheats.

Visit a food bank. The prevailing atmosphere is that no-one wants to rely on charity to feed their children. Many users feel guilty or ashamed. Parents opt to skip meals to feed their kids and can’t afford even the most basic of living standards, such as heating or clothing.

The fact that the UK has become rife with food poverty is nothing short of a scandal, when you consider that Britain is the seventh richest country in the world. Whether you’ve suffered a personal injury, and are now unable to work (fight back with Vincent’s solicitors in Preston, if this has happened to you), or you’re unable to find a job in the current employment climate, it’s not your fault; you’re not lazy; and you deserve to be supported by the government you voted into power.

One-in-five of UK citizens live below the poverty line. That adds up to more than 13 million people on this tiny island. A Girl Called Jack has recently be making headlines by sharing her story in newspaper articles about how she struggled to feed her son and herself, under the government’s benefit cuts and financial mismanagement. Perhaps she can be a cautionary story for us all.

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  • CHrisRobinson

    Wow, Admin, good to see you ‘moving to the left’ (Ha, Ha). You’re absolutely spot on, of course! As ever, I would pose the question to you, and anyone else reading your fine article – ‘What should be done about it?’ Answers on a postcard? Thousands of people will be marching on the streets of Manchester this Sunday (outside the Tory Party conference). The anti-bedroom tax campaign grows from strength to strength (50,000 in Scotland alone are now in serious arrears). It’s plain that this vicious cut is not working but the Tories dare not drop it, it iis Ian Duncan Smith’s ‘flagship’ policy, a blatant transference of wealth from the poor to the rich. At least, Miliband has sworn to repeal it, yet more could be done. If Miliband was serious, he could tell Labour councils not to implement it.

    There’s also the question of the ‘working poor’ – those on low pay and zero contracts who also sometimes have to resort to food banks.

  • Admin

    I think I must have been reading too many of your articles recently Chris. They are starting to have an effect on me……

  • ChrisRobinson

    Your article, Admin, proves you are taking a step in the right (left, really) direction. As our friend Mr Marx said: ‘Philosophers EXPLAIN the world, the point is, however, to CHANGE it.’

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