Britain Today

Increased Use of Foodbanks

Cogitating in April on the increasing use of food banks in the UK, Leftfoot Forward carried a bar chart based on figures released by the foodbank charity, the Trussell Trust.

This showed an increase from 60 to 130 to 350 thousand claims for assistance in each of the respective years since the Coalition entered Government. Casting a critical eye over the piece, I did note how the headline – “Coalition presides over a 1,000% increase […]” – elides the parallel display that a much greater proportional increase took place over a similar period during the dog days of the Labour Government, and from a much lower initial base.

Furthermore, there is little hint as to the rationale of the data collection: such as potential replication of claimants through any easing of rules to allow repeat claims, or of increased awareness of the option of services offered by a foodbanks administered by groups not immediately recognizable as religious groups. And Leftfood Forward juxtaposing the circumspect and largely apolitical press release from the Trussell Trust with adversarial statements by Labour Front Benchers.

A number of responders quibble over the precise presentation of the graph (such as the odd calculations which concluded a 1,000% increase) but do not dispute the underlying problem of a great number of people from disparate backgrounds needing emergency food aid. That said, one responder makes a comment which could be interpreted as chagrin at foodbanks relieving the pressure from central Government and not leaving people to go hungry in order to shame the Coalition into action.

(Although, judging from comments following a Guardian report on the same press release, a trick might have been missed in linking the Trussell Trust to right-wing Tory evangelicals. Here one responder says outright what the previous responder only appeared to be saying, and states that foodbanks are collaboration with the Coalition and should be resisted. Troll or nutter, take your pick.)

High-profile campaigns such as A Pound a Day also miss the point. Unpleasant it may be to live on such a small sum for a week or so, participants will know that they can return to comfort soon, or even have put aside reserves before the start. The misery comes from having subsisted on the bare minimum for an extended period so that when one or two meals are missed, true hunger sets in.

PS As before, this thread is not about Israel or Muslims or anything in between.

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