Freudian slip on food poverty

Former city banker David Freud speaks atIn a serious Freudian slip, a Government minister yesterday denied that there was any link between food poverty and welfare, and suggested instead that the growth in foodbanks is ‘supply-led.’

So there we have it.  The real culprits for the growth of food poverty are foodbanks…

Government Minister Lord Freud was challenged by the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Rev Tim Thornton in the House of Lords, over whether ministers conceded a link between the benefits system and food bank use. Lord Freud replied that it was difficult to “make the causal connections”. The minister for welfare reform added: “It is difficult to know which came first – supply or demand. If you put more food banks in, that is the supply. Clearly food from a food bank is by definition a free good and there’s almost infinite demand.”

According to Lord Freud’s wonderful logic, if food banks had not been set up in their hundreds across the country, then 500,000 people would not have used them last year. So – those of you who have put in hours of voluntary labour to set up and run food banks – all you are doing is stoking an almost infinite demand…

Lord Freud also flatly denied that food banks are part of the welfare system, even though the Department for Work and Pensions own official policy (announced in response to the Walking the Breadline report) is for Jobcentre Plus to refer people to foodbanks.

Alice in Wonderland would have been proud

Meanwhile in the real world, food poverty continues to escalate, with almost one in five of the population struggling to feed themselves.   That’s not the conclusion of some left-wing think tank or the ‘charity industrial complex’ (as a right wing blogger suggested last month) – but of Tesco.

As the coordinator of a foodbank in Consett, quoted by Baroness Hilary Armstrong in the Lords yesterday said,  “Please, please, tell the Government that this is because the benefits system is now inadequate and people are desperate. That’s why they’re coming”.

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.

If you haven’t yet emailed your MP to support the call, do so now!

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21 Responses to Freudian slip on food poverty

  1. niallcooper says:

    Reblogged this on A Fair Say.

  2. Dave Roberts says:

    Reblogged this on Partakers WOW Disciple… and commented:
    Food for thought indeed!

  3. Michael says:

    There is life on other planets. Clearly Lord Freud doesn’t live on this one.

    • Paul says:

      I was about to put a post on here saying “What planet do these Tories live on”??? Thanks Michael for a bit of reality!

  4. CG says:

    Obvious, innit – if there weren’t any foodbanks, no-one would use them. How clear and simple everything is in Lord Freud’s world.

  5. When there’s no other defence – blame the victim.

  6. Carol says:

    As someone who is seeing the results of welfare reform on the ground daily, it is hard to persaude people to accept the help they need.
    In many cases they will have been fed by friends and family to some digree or another before they accept help. More often than not they are very distressed at the realisation they have no other choice.

    • I am a volunteer in a foodbank and have met some lovely people with dreadful stories of homelessness, illness, benefit delays or sanctions, redundancy and sadly, seperated families where the dad has had to leave his 2 bed property because of the bedroom tax meaning he can no longer have overnight access to his children.
      These people who make the rules and shoot off their mouths know nothing of poverty, after all, they are well fed by the taxpayer, food allowance on top of the salary

  7. Paul says:

    Seems quite straight forward not sure why your columnist is confused. stated that he was unclear what the driver is in this relatively new market, better than making snap judgments like this article.

    • niallcooper says:

      Paul, I’m not sure I’d describe food banks as a ‘relatively new market’. I think the point is that foodbanks are for people who haven’t got money to operate in the market, which is also why Lord Freud’s argument that free food handouts create an ‘almost unlimited demand’ makes no sense. Thankfully, not everything functions according to market economics!

  8. Paul says:

    What this Government Minister has said is the same as saying that if there were no RNLI, people wouldn’t need rescuing on the water; or, if there were no Air Ambulance service, people wouldn’t need rescuing by them either! (BTW, both those organisations are charities!)

  9. margaret kenny says:

    we are called community spirit wirral i would love lord freud too spend a day with us and maybe you would change your point of view we go and feed people who are working and self employed who cannot afford too feed their familys i am boiling connect on facebook community spirit wirral

  10. Cheryl says:

    I think the main reason our food bank was set up because there was a family who run the soup kitchen for the homeless and more and more family’s were turning up to be fed . We are good people and we look after each other , to be honest since the food banks were started up there have been more and more cuts to people’s benefits I think the government is taking advantage of the help people are getting in there community. This is shameful . I have a great idea lets all go out and steal our food from shops and if we get put in jail it is a bonus 3 meals a day .

  11. So Lord Freud is as out of touch with reality as the rest of them….he’s insinuating that the use of food banks is a lifestyle choice with the usual suspects (benefit claimants), once again milking the system….I was in the unfortunate position a few weeks ago whereby I found myself stretched to the limit and started researching researching food banks local to me…well it was the weekend and they were all closed but I baulked when I read the criteria !….I must present with a voucher issued by police, social worker or someone in the loop after an interview to establish if I was needy enough to avail of said food bank…as if I would be there otherwise!….more routine humiliation before actually getting near a food package, sorry I’m not THAT hungry. Oh and regardless of my spirituality I am expected to enjoy tea with the volunteers who tell me where I’m going wrong and that it would be so much better if I let God take control…so that’s the catch, you have to listen to the “message” and repent before you eat…very sinister!!

    • The foodbank I volunteer in is run by a Christian charity…but I am not a practising christian by a long stretch of the imagination and when I sit having a cuppa with the ‘clients’ we talk about anything and nothing while their parcel is being packed in the back. Religion is never mentioned by me, today I have talked about peoples dogs, their love of horses…their neighbourhoods and goldmining! amongst other things.
      I’m sure if you went into somewhere where they try to push religion on you if you just nicely say youre not interested that should be it.

  12. margaret kenny says:

    community spirit wirral is not a food bank we deal with people who do not hit their criteria and we are finding working people are needing help as much as people on beneifits we aim to respond to every person that asks for help and for the last 8 months we have not turned anybody away no questions asked we feed 300 people a week and have managed this by bringing the community together helping one another if you would like to know contact us on facebook COMMUNITY SPIRIT WIRRAL and ask for margy kenny or mandylee upton

  13. Amanda says:

    Many of these people would not need to use the food banks if they were in line for a £10,000 payrise like the MPs who are busy criticising them are!

  14. Pingback: Freudian slip on food poverty | The Bigger Society

  15. Pingback: Archbishop of Canterbury takes up the cudgels | Niall Cooper

  16. Pingback: Increasing numbers turning to foodbanks since April welfare reforms | Niall Cooper

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