A NEW report for the Government has concluded that people are
being driven to use foodbanks by job losses and problems getting
Household Food Security in the UK, published on
Thursday of last week, states that the "current economic and policy
context" is causing rising numbers of families to have to deal with
drastic changes in their circumstances which affect their ability
to buy food.
Publication of the report, which was written by a group of
academics from the University of Warwick, has been delayed for
several months, and there has been speculation that it would
criticise the Government's austerity programme.
The researchers write that the organisations that run foodbanks
say that a combination of unemployment, benefit sanctions, low
wages, and increasing debt are the factors that are pushing people
into receiving food aid. They also say that turning to foodbanks is
largely a last resort.
Research by the Citizens Advice service, quoted in the report,
found that the two most common reasons for using a foodbank were
delays in the payment of benefits, and benefit sanctions.
The report suggests, however, that the growing number of people
using foodbanks is not good evidence of problems with the Welfare
State. The authors recommend that the Government focus on "the root
causes of [food] insecurity rather than on numbers claiming food
aid". They also argue that even long-term use of foodbanks does not
address the underlying problems that prevent households' having
On Tuesday, it was announced that the Bishop of Truro, the Rt
Revd Tim Thornton, is to chair a parliamentary inquiry into food
poverty. It will be co-chaired by the Labour MP Frank Field, and
will report to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food
Its remit is to investigate the rise of foodbanks and how
adequately they are meeting people's need for food aid.
A RECTOR who was angered by a segment on the BBC car
programme Top Gear, in which the presenters drove into food in a
supermarket, has complained to the BBC. Prebendary Robert King, the
Rector of Weobley, in the diocese of Hereford, said that he was
upset that food had been destroyed at a time when so many were
struggling to afford enough to eat. A spokesman for the BBC said:
"We're aware that some viewers will think any wastage of food is
unacceptable, but we are making a TV show, and that sort of moral
question is not the main point of our remit."
Question of the week: Do you
believe that there is a link between foodbanks and changes in