Following Lord Freud’s claims on Tuesday that foodbanks are culpable for generating an ‘almost infinite demand’ for free food, Michael Gove was at it yesterday: Attacking parents who send their children to school hungry, claiming it was due to their ‘chaotic’ lives rather than a lack of cash.
A consistent picture is emerging: Government Ministers casting round for other people to blame for the growth of food poverty. Anything, in fact, to deflect attention from the glaringly obvious:
Thousands of people across the UK (many in work) simply don’t have enough money to feed themselves. Thousands are then let down by the absence of the ‘welfare safety net’ which has ceased to function in any meaningful way.
It used to be the mark of a civilised society that it cared for its poorest and most vulnerable members, rather than blaming them for their plight.
One of the founding principles of the welfare state was that it would offer a safety net for any of us when we fell on hard times, to prevent us falling into penury and destitution.
Even in these hardened times, what is the safety net for, if not to prevent people going hungry? But Ministers are seemingly unwilling or unable to face the unpalatable fact that the welfare safety net had been eroded to the point where, for tens of thousands, it has ceased to exist.
Much easier to blame those who are trying to help for their generosity in supplying ‘free goods’ – or the very parents who are struggling to make ends meet.
With Government Ministers in denial, it is all the more reason for an urgent Parliamentary Inquiry into the relationship between benefit delay, error and sanctions, welfare reform and the growth of foodbanks. Add your voice to the call for a Parliamentary Inquiry now!