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Newsnight Food Bank report

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Messages: 1 - 50 of 160
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by Edinburgh_Ranger (U1590150) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    It's inevitable that this thread will descend into the usual slanging match but, before it does, did anyone else watch the programme last night? Very moving and you would have to have a heart of stone not to feel for these people and think that something is not right in a country as rich as ours when so many people cannot feed themselves.

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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by BryanLuc (U12989423) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    Don't be silly, there are those on here who do not believe that food banks exist

    Report message2

  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Mrs PPG (U14114383) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I saw it and agree, hugely moving.

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  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by Binky (U4657795) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I didn't see the report, but what exactly was different about this?

    I know that we've had food parcels in a few towns now. In fact, now I think about it, there was a whole programme about a distribution centre and short interviews with people using it. I also recall a lot of heated comment here about the lady who smoked a packet of 20 per day (as did her partner) who came in for some flak.....

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  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by Vicky S (U2258400) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I'd like to see an investigation into the money lending/pay day loan companies that are springing up all over the place. From what I saw of the foodbank report it appears that their crippling interest rates, and access to client's bank accounts, are partly to blame for the poverty that leads to reliance on food banks. If the government is really serious about tackling poverty they could do worse than limit these slime ball companies that prey on the poorest in our communities instead encourage the establishment of local Credit Banks .

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  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by Edinburgh_Ranger (U1590150) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I saw it and agree, hugely moving.   Some of the problems people create for themselves were illustrated too like the lady arriving at the food bank who had just had another child. Why , when you can't even afford the ones you alread have? There is also a powerful argument for capping the interest rates charged by the payday companies who prey on these people and I say that as a dyed in the wool market forces man.

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  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by Edinburgh_Ranger (U1590150) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I also couldn't help but feel guilty when Charlotte was describing how much money £32.50 was to her when it's a sum that doesn't even register with me.

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by Essential Rabbit (U3613943) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    If the government is really serious about tackling poverty they could do worse than limit these slime ball companies that prey on the poorest in our communities instead encourage the establishment of local Credit Banks 
    Until I began to see advertisements for the loan sharks on the television, I had always thought that it was illegal to charge such huge interest rates.

    It's time to legislate to stop such blatent usery, taking advantage of the most vulnerable.

    Report message8

  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by Prinkma (U14661090) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I can't believe that money-lending companies are now being allowed to sponsor programmes on TV. And they all look so cuddly....

    Report message9

  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by auldhairy (U14258268) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I seen this,

    www.bbc.co.uk/news/u...

    Report message10

  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by Essential Rabbit (U3613943) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I can't believe that money-lending companies are now being allowed to sponsor programmes on TV. And they all look so cuddly....  Friends in high places?

    www.telegraph.co.uk/...

    Report message11

  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by Binky (U4657795) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    But if these loan company/payday loans facilities didn't exist, some people would still seek out ways of borrowing - probably from the far worse loan sharks that used to exist. To me, the root of the problem stands out like a sore thumb - money mismanagement.

    I feel that I must give a real life example. My father was a bus driver, and one of our near neighbours worked at the same depot. They got the same pay, in a brown packet on Friday mornings. Neighbour would lose at least a quarter of his at lunch time in the canteen, gambling on card games, then go to the pub after work. His family suffered and we could all see that, but lack of money was definately not the problem there.

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  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by BrightYangThing (U14627705) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I saw most of the programme but missed that segment somehow - I assume it fed into the studio discussion on Standard of Living. Can you give a time segment?

    The debate was reasonable, reasoned and by and large head shaking that we have reached/returned to such a stage as this.

    But it's a complex situation that requires complex policies and actions to resolve or control.

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  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 10.

    Posted by fascinating (U1944795) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I seen this,

    www.bbc.co.uk/news/u... 
    Thanks for that link auldhairy, it is quite informative.

    Most of the people are in need because of debt they have got into, probably debts that have punitive interest.

    The solution to that would be for the government to set up an agency to offer capital to such people at much less interest (though still quite high (say 15% apr) to cover those who default) but demand that people sign up to having their benefits given to the agency so that the payments can be taken out first.

    The example of the woman who was waiting for her benefits to come through doesn't trouble me so very much. She will get the benefit eventually, if she is entitled to it, and will be able to pay off her £900 debt in time, as long as the interest rate is not punitive (if it is, see my solution above).

    On the other hand I do think that many benefits are simply not enough to live on. The child benefit rate should be increased.

    Basically the problem is UNEMPLOYMENT. There needs to be enough jobs created so that people can earn real money and pay their own way.

    The way to get people back to work is to build a lot more houses; the fact that housing is so prohibitively expensive proves that there desprerately needs to be an increase in supply.

    Report message14

  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Penstemon (U4429639) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I totally agree ER. Moreover I was ashamed too that we live in a country as rich as this yet 'normal' people find that they haven't got enough money to feed their children.

    Heartbreaking

    Report message15

  • Message 16

    , in reply to message 14.

    Posted by gbcII (U15163581) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I saw it too.

    It felt fragmented the whole programme. the stories didnt all ring true for arious reasons. Or we idnt have the full picture and they followed a few families, with slightly different dificulties.

    The girl who had been in care, was having a tough time and could do with some guidance. Although, I didnt like that she was stood outside a college with a collection tin for the (food bank?) charity. ncluded in the filming and were a group of girls walking away from her, the college, whe was generalising (encouraged) to state how jealous she was and something was mentioned at how fashionable others were and that they (not just the girls) have it easy. I was sat thinking I hope they (any teenage) doesnt have it as hard as she was or had done.

    Noone should struggle, not htat our household is, but we have to watch the pennies and dont have a big mortgage or any additional debt.

    One thing I did notice and I dont judge them on their homes and furnishings, but honestly, if we had newish or nice things in our home, and had lost our jobs I would sell a few things to pay rent. But tis programme didnt really give the most full picture of eveyones situation



    .

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  • Message 17

    , in reply to message 16.

    Posted by Morganish (U9108847) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I agree absolutely that payday loans and high interest rate loans should be investigated and stopped immediately. There should be a maximum rate set.

    I saw the programme and, yes, it's horrifying that in our society people are struggling to feed themselves and their children. And at the same time, I am aware of a number of people who struggle financially because of the decisions they make. One of construction workers here managed to save £2000 with a company saving scheme we implemented. He asked for the money the other week to put down a deposit on a car he desperately needs. Saw him yesterday, asked about the car, and he confessed that the money had gone on an iPad, clothes for his girlfriend and Christmas presents for the kids — and the kids have had them already, so more Christmas presents will be required before Christmas.

    There are some people you just can't help.

    Report message17

  • Message 18

    , in reply to message 17.

    Posted by starlilolill (U11601004) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    What shocked me even more, and I was shocked believe me, was that people have to have a docket from a government agency to obtain food from these food banks. So the government must know the situation and yet do nothing to help.

    There but for the grace of God go all of us. If you don't believe that then you are burying your head in the sand.
    Losing your job through no fault of your own, unable to find work, use up your savings in the mean time and then they lose your paperwork so no money coming in at all. Shame on any government who can't see what is happening.

    While I am on here, there are a few posters who need to apologise to Bryan Luc. When he highlighted the problem they were in denial!

    Report message18

  • Message 19

    , in reply to message 18.

    Posted by Edinburgh_Ranger (U1590150) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    If you don't require a docket any chancer could turn up and claim free food as indeed someone did in the film. The government agencies are helping.

    If they need to apologise so does Bryan as he tried to make out that food banks only sprung up from 2010 onwards.

    Report message19

  • Message 20

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by starlilolill (U11601004) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    ER my point was that the government agencies know that people need food banks but are not helping! I don't know how I can make myself any clearer.

    The number of foodbanks has increased beyond measure as was indicated in the programme. I believe that is the point that BL was trying to make and was scoffed at.

    Trying to defend the indefensible is pointless. The UK is in crisis and nobody seems to care!

    Report message20

  • Message 21

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by Edinburgh_Ranger (U1590150) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    ER my point was that the government agencies know that people need food banks but are not helping! I don't know how I can make myself any clearer.

    The number of foodbanks has increased beyond measure as was indicated in the programme. I believe that is the point that BL was trying to make and was scoffed at.

    Trying to defend the indefensible is pointless. The UK is in crisis and nobody seems to care! 
    I'm hardly defending it given that I started the thread. They are helping by providing access to the food banks for one thing along with all the other services provided. It was noticeable that these people had people presumably state employees, assigend to them. No government has a magic wand and, as has been mentioned by others, some of these people seem beyond what most would consider 'normal' help unfortunately.

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  • Message 22

    , in reply to message 21.

    Posted by starlilolill (U11601004) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    Government Agencies referring people to charity funded food banks! Unbelievable!

    Report message22

  • Message 23

    , in reply to message 16.

    Posted by Sunny Clouds (U14258963) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    One thing I did notice and I dont judge them on their homes and furnishings, but honestly, if we had newish or nice things in our home, and had lost our jobs I would sell a few things to pay rent. 

    I've pawned my stuff in the past when things were tight and I think it's reasonable for people to think about what they can sell to raise money to pay off their debts. Leaving aside any moral issues, it makes sense financially if they've got anything worth selling.

    On the other hand, when I see what our local pawnshops (including high street names) sell things like televisions for, and given what I suspect their profit margins are, I don't think people do actually raise much when they sell their stuff. It's not just the payday loan companies that are making nice profits out of people who are struggling.

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  • Message 24

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by BryanLuc (U12989423) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    If they need to apologise so does Bryan as he tried to make out that food banks only sprung up from 2010 onwards. 

    Why do I need to apolgise for pointing out that the number of food banks has grown VERY significantly since 2010

    Report message24

  • Message 25

    , in reply to message 14.

    Posted by 1984 (U6551334) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    The solution to that would be for the government to set up an agency to offer capital to such people at much less interest (though still quite high (say 15% apr) to cover those who default) but demand that people sign up to having their benefits given to the agency so that the payments can be taken out first. 

    Things must have changed from the early 90s as you used to be able to get emergency loans from the DHSS for a few hundred pounds or so if you could prove you needed it. This was then deducted from your dole at a small amount, and low interest rates, if any iirc.

    As for those annoying TV ads with the old people going on about sliders (sure you know the company I mean), then ban them, or at least regulate them to the amount of interest they can charge. The same with those tatty shops which will sell you a new TV (last years model) at a price way above the norm and to top it up will then let you pay in installments at another ursury rate.

    Horrible bottom feeders the lot of them. Though I don't think you will ever be able to get away from the men with the camel hair coats. Someone will always be there feeding off the misery of others.

    btw on a slightly different note I watch a lot of history TV cannel on DSTV. Two of my favourite shows are Pawn Stars, about a pawn shop in Vegas, and Storage Wars about abandoned storage units in California (Barrys bit of a loon). Are these shown in the UK, and anyone watch them.

    Report message25

  • Message 26

    , in reply to message 24.

    Posted by auldhairy (U14258268) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    This is from Bristol near us.

    eastbristol.foodbank...

    If you google an area near you the information should be there.

    Report message26

  • Message 27

    , in reply to message 23.

    Posted by Binky (U4657795) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    You see I don't think it is reasonable to sell items. It's a short-term stop gap and you're back where you started if you are unable or unwilling to manage/economise, call it what you will.

    Get a few cookery books from the library and learn how to prepare dried pulses. Learn that it's better to make a large stew once every few days, and bulk it out with jacket potatoes and some fresh green veg from a market stall, rather than the quick takeaways and frozen pizzas which I know a lot of people like. Prepare some homemade soup, again very inexpensive and good for you. Making bread costs pennies. Cakes are more expensive due to the cost of eggs but still worth making for the taste alone. There's lots of ways to make money stretch.

    Report message27

  • Message 28

    , in reply to message 27.

    Posted by Binky (U4657795) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    Sorry, my post looks like I was meaning Sunny specifically, and that she couldn't manage finances when really it is meant to be a general point about eating well on little money.

    Report message28

  • Message 29

    , in reply to message 24.

    Posted by Edinburgh_Ranger (U1590150) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    If they need to apologise so does Bryan as he tried to make out that food banks only sprung up from 2010 onwards. 

    Why do I need to apolgise for pointing out that the number of food banks has grown VERY significantly since 2010 
    You don't need to apologise for that and weren't asked to so do.

    Report message29

  • Message 30

    , in reply to message 27.

    Posted by Sunny Clouds (U14258963) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I don't think it helps to sell stuff to pay for day-to-day living costs, and I agree 100% that living more economically is the best way of dealing with being short of money.

    The context in which I think it makes sense to sell stuff is when you've got a loan with extortionate amounts of compound interest where if you sell your telly to pay it off, after a year you'll have saved enough in the interest you didn't have to pay to buy a small telly to replace it and you won't have all the payments hanging over your head.

    I have strong views about things to do with schooling and money. I think every child at school should be taught basic cookery, basic budgetting etc. Children should leave school understanding about things like how much fuel costs and how long companies can leave between reading the meters and how big the bills can be when they do read them if you don't keep them informed. The cookery, I think, should be better than we did when I was at school, which was often fancy cooking with no emphasis on cheap ingredients (and by cheap I don't mean poor quality). I don't care whether they can square a circle, I care whether they can work out what 4000% apr means when they borrow £50.

    Picking up on Devon's (was it? - can't look back now I'm in the answer box) about crisis loans.

    The social fund that pays crisis loans, budgetting loans and some grants is a limited budget. You don't just have to need some money, you have to need it more than lots of other people who phoned in on the same day. The government is handing it over to local authorities and it is my understanding that the budget will be lower. Various LAs have spoken of vouchers for secondhand furniture shops and food banks.

    Report message30

  • Message 31

    , in reply to message 24.

    Posted by Morganish (U9108847) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I have been thinking a bit more, and somehow I can't get quite as outraged about the food banks as some others here are. I think my worst fears are about having them situated in churches, where the godly use the distribution of food as a chance to preach and convert. That's outrageous and people in need should not be exploited by the happy-clappy god-botherers.

    But as I said before, so many of the problems on display in the TV report are the result of people making poor decisions in the expectation that someone, somewhere will pick up the bill. We're going to have to turn back into a society where people save a nest egg for a rainy day, we're going to have to learn to defer gratification and put off buying the big TV and the iMac until we can pay cash and we're all going to have to expect to stand on our own two feet a bit more. Rather like the way things were 30-40 years ago.

    If, as in the documentary, you give up a job that offers a reasonable standard of living for your five kids to go back to college, is it really reasonable to expect the benefits system to pick up the difference? If you're barely able to keep your head above water and feed your child and dogs, why on earth do you have another child? I think these are the questions we need to ask. The situation with the young woman who was in care is quite different: it's shocking that a young woman in her situation can be left without any means of support.

    I have always been a Labour voter, always supported benefits and the redistribution of wealth - but, but, but... There have got to be some fundamental changes, starting with the end of payday loan companies etc and moving on to changing attitudes. Food banks make sense in a way, because they meet a pressing need while not 'normalising' yet more state support to people who have made poor decisions.

    Report message31

  • Message 32

    , in reply to message 31.

    Posted by BryanLuc (U12989423) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I think my worst fears are about having them situated in churches, where the godly use the distribution of food as a chance to preach and convert. That's outrageous and people in need should not be exploited by the happy-clappy god-botherers. 

    Do you have evidence of this happening or is it just a concern that ot could happen
    It certainly doesn't happen here, if it did they would lose my support

    Report message32

  • Message 33

    , in reply to message 32.

    Posted by Sunny Clouds (U14258963) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I think my worst fears are about having them situated in churches, where the godly use the distribution of food as a chance to preach and convert. That's outrageous and people in need should not be exploited by the happy-clappy god-botherers. 

    Do you have evidence of this happening or is it just a concern that ot could happen
    It certainly doesn't happen here, if it did they would lose my support 


    It doesn't bother me. If people with any shared beliefs want to get together and say they'll give food to people who turn up to listen to their views, then I don't have a problem with it. If others don't like that, let them set up a source of free food that isn't donated by people who want it to be for people that listen to their views. No one is forcing anyone to take food given by others for free.

    Round here, there's a Buddhist who gives out free curry. People can take his free curry and listen to what he has to say or move on. There's a Gurduwara near where a friend of mine lives where they provide three hot meals a day. I've no idea whether they tell the people they feed about the teachings of the gurus, but as I see it, that's their right. You go into a place of worship and ask for food and it's up to them whether they expect something in return.

    I've been involved in organising community conferences with free food. I've never had a problem with people coming to them just to get the free food. It's just a question of perspective.

    Some people go to alpha courses to learn, and some want a free meal, but that's their choice.

    I do have a problem with public policy leaving people to rely on foodbanks, I don't have a problem with people who choose to give their money, food, time to others in exchange for listening to what they want to say. I don't have to give these things to anyone, but if I do so and say "you can have food off me if you'll listen to what I want to tell you" that's my right, just as it's my right when getting rid of clothes to decide whether to sell them to a rag merchant or give them to a charity shop or whatever. I can choose whether, for instance, to give my money to Age Uk or to give it to a local church group for elders and I can choose whether to give food to anyone or to give it to people who will come to listen to a sermon or take a tract away with them.

    My choice whom to give my money to and their choice whether to accept.

    That as I see it is very different from whether people should be left in a position whereby they need to use food banks.

    Report message33

  • Message 34

    , in reply to message 33.

    Posted by Edinburgh_Ranger (U1590150) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    www.bbc.co.uk/news/b...

    An article very pertinent to this thread.

    Report message34

  • Message 35

    , in reply to message 30.

    Posted by Binky (U4657795) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I have strong views about things to do with schooling and money. I think every child at school should be taught basic cookery, basic budgetting etc. Children should leave school understanding about things like how much fuel costs and how long companies can leave between reading the meters and how big the bills can be when they do read them if you don't keep them informed. The cookery, I think, should be better than we did when I was at school, which was often fancy cooking with no emphasis on cheap ingredients (and by cheap I don't mean poor quality). I don't care whether they can square a circle, I care whether they can work out what 4000% apr means when they borrow £50. 

    I share these views and agree totally. I learned basic cookery at school and it has stood me in reasonable stead. We did things like nutrition too, and meal planning. I wasn't particularly interested at the time and dropped the subject as soon as I could, because DS (domestic science) wasn't considered academic and I would rather do my French, Physics, Latin, History etc. However, no girl left that school without being able to shop, cook and feed herself properly.

    It's a real shame because whenever people try to give advice or make suggestions, they're often told they're being patronising. I don't know how to help people to help themselves, but a decent education in home economics would be a good start.

    Report message35

  • Message 36

    , in reply to message 33.

    Posted by BryanLuc (U12989423) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I don't think the Salvation Army for instance preaches to those it serves from their soup kitchens and the homeless, or when they serve cups of tea following a disaster
    If "organisations" are going to give out help only to those who listen to their views then I do not want to know
    Smacks a bit of Scientology to me

    Report message36

  • Message 37

    , in reply to message 36.

    Posted by Sunny Clouds (U14258963) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    Let's turn it upside down.

    You get together with your mates. You all gather together weekly to discuss local issues and have talks on stuff, maybe community policing, maybe problems with rubbish tipping or whatever. You share some sarnies and a few cans.

    You say to other neighbours they can come and if they like they can share your food.

    Then you want more to come and say you're putting on a free meal for anyone in the road that doesn't mind listening to what you have to say about the latest problem with the sewers and a spate of burglaries.

    Then you put out a notice "Welcome to our free Saturday night meal. Hear what we have to say about the neighbourhood." People turn up and you give them a list of current planning applications and ask them to fill in a poll about council services. But the meal is free.

    Then you tell them they can take the food away, but you'd like them to take away information about the neighbourhood group's activities and why they think their views on how to improve things are so very important...

    But the bottom line is that your neighbours don't have to turn up if they don't want to hear what you've got to say about why people should care about the neighbourhood and what your views are on how best to live there together. You can say 'up yours' to the free meal.

    I give to a variety of recipients and causes and I actually object to being told I can only give food to people if I don't do so in the context of sharing my views. I don't think I'm the only one.

    I had a neighbour who was kind and who also gave me tracts on why Jesus was not the path to God but Muhammed was. I didn't have to accept them, but I didn't have to accept his help either. If they came as a package, that was his choice. It was his time, his effort.

    Report message37

  • Message 38

    , in reply to message 37.

    Posted by Binky (U4657795) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    Who started food banks in the UK by the way? Is it a religious movement?

    I only ask because when I lived in the US (not great with welfare as a government funded project) we had a local group called Food Gatherers. They went round to restaurants, supermarkets, delis, cafes, sandwich shops - anyone who sold food - and collected fresh but unsold items. These were distributed to homeless shelters and womens refuges. This was at least 17 years ago and not connected with any religious group.

    Report message38

  • Message 39

    , in reply to message 38.

    Posted by Sunny Clouds (U14258963) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    There are non-religious food banks and food re-distributors (is that the right word?)

    For example, I don't think FareShare is religious. It's national and redistributes lots of food from supermarkets to people who need it, for example children in nurseries, schools etc.

    Report message39

  • Message 40

    , in reply to message 31.

    Posted by Lynetta Pavlova (U14864661) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    We're going to have to turn back into a society where people save a nest egg for a rainy day 

    And what if you've never earned enough to save anything? Or your savings have gone because you've had to use them to live on? I know of one case where this has happened because the owner of a company was desperately trying to keep it afloat; he paid his staff and lived on his savings (foolish, no doubt, but hindsight's always perfect) but the company failed anyway. He was able to secure jobs for most of his staff, though, so at least they aren't on benefits.

    Of course there are feckless mismanagers but there is also terrible hardship which has fallen on people through no fault of their own. The dreadful thing is that we are now creating a poor working class; paid peanuts, terrified to complain about shoddy treatment because they know there are others who can take their place and yet told by some that they're lucky to have work. It's grim to put it mildly.

    Report message40

  • Message 41

    , in reply to message 39.

    Posted by Sunny Clouds (U14258963) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    As someone who's been homeless, scraping by financially and hungry, my feeling is that, at the risk of offending people, getting food in the form of a food parcel is begging. It's socially acceptable begging, wrapped up in a nice carrier bag and given with a smile, but it's begging.

    People don't have to beg that way. They can beg money from others not offering food parcels or beg food items from neighbours if they choose. They can do what I've done and pick up fruit and veg off the ground when the market closes. But begging from strangers next to the cash machine, asking people at the bus stop to buy you food and picking up after the market closes feels humiliating to some people, and it doesn't necessarily give them what they want, so they go to a food bank. I wouldn't feel above doing it.

    But the choice is there and if you go begging to others for food, you have to accept it on their terms (which I've done).

    The scandal here is not that some people feel that they want to give money on their terms, be that the person who says to you when you ask them for money "I'm sorry, I won't give you money but I'll buy you a sarnie and a bottle of pop" or the person who says "I'll give you a nice parcel in a nondescript bag without the need to stand next to the shop entrance saying 'Any change?' if you'll listen to what my beliefs are that lead me to do this." The scandal is that people should need to rely on begging at all, that people should be left penniless in one of the richest societies in the world.

    The last time I went from working to being on the sick, it took two months for my incapacity benefit to come through and even longer for my incapacity benefit to come through. I was lucky, I had a bit of savings, some hoarded food and friends. But if I'd gone to my local mosque or temple or church and begged for food, I wouldn't have been angry with their members for wanting to give money to people who shared their message, but angry with the DWP for messing up and angry with the public for being too busy castigating welfare claimants to castigate the government over the gaps in the system.

    My apologies to anyone who thinks having food from a foodbank isn't begging. If it isn't, then knocking on people's doors asking for food or asking people on the village green to buy you food isn't, but that's less socially acceptable so we use a different word for it. I prefer to use the same word for both in this context to illustrate my point.

    Report message41

  • Message 42

    , in reply to message 40.

    Posted by Binky (U4657795) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    The dreadful thing is that we are now creating a poor working class; paid peanuts, terrified to complain about shoddy treatment because they know there are others who can take their place 

    but it was always like that. I came from a poor working class family and my mother drilled it into me that the only way of escape was to not be one of the people being paid peanuts. That is, I should have something worth selling to an employer, other than the sweat of my brow. So when my friends were going out to clubs, or staying up late to watch things on TV, my parents would always say no, you must do your homework and study for a good well paid job. Then you will be free.

    My parents were poor but wise.

    Report message42

  • Message 43

    , in reply to message 42.

    Posted by wycombewanderer (U3114853) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    To my mind the problem is the politicisation of the major chairties.
    They get 70% of funding from the taxpayer and are using that money to lobby for even more.

    They are today nothing more than trick or treaters on an industrial scale

    Report message43

  • Message 44

    , in reply to message 43.

    Posted by Sunny Clouds (U14258963) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I understand that some charities are politicised although it's not necessarily the same as the ones with lots of taxpayer funding, but I wasn't aware it was an issue in relation to foodbanks. I am aware that there are some links between Trussell Trust and certain Tory politicians, but again I didn't see that as a matter of politicisation but one of personal conviction. (And yes, as someone left of centre I am capable of seeing Tory politicians as having moral convictions and personal involvement with what are, according to their personal preferences, good causes.)

    Report message44

  • Message 45

    , in reply to message 40.

    Posted by Morganish (U9108847) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    Re religion: I'm an atheist. I was asked to contribute to a food bank that was collecting in the foyer at my local supermarket recently. I contributed two carrier bags of stuff: no problem. Having handed the goods over I received a piece of paper thanking me and telling me that the people collecting were from a local church. I don't want some poor hapless person being given the stuff I donated 'as a gift from God, to prove that God loves you', as was said in the documentary last night. Or to have to listen to people praising the lord and playing guitars badly because they feel they have to be pleasant in order to avoid any danger of being discriminated against next time they need food. If food banks have to exist, they need to be run professionally. You only had to see the way that the conman manipulated the food-bankers and how offended one of the other clients was by the way she had been treated to realise the limits of the informal charitable model.

    I agree absolutely that people in desperate need require help and food banks are a great way of using food that might otherwise have been thrown away. However, I can see how food banks could act as a perverse incentive for a few (rather like the conman). If you know that you can get free food from a food bank, you can go and spend the money you would have spent on food on something else — like servicing expensive loans.

    Lynetta, I know some people have it really hard and I take on board entirely the example you give of your company-owning acquaintance. I started out with very, very little. I do know how desperate it can be, surviving on very little. I was fortunate enough to have been brought up to be enterprising and to save and go without stuff.

    Report message45

  • Message 46

    , in reply to message 45.

    Posted by Sunny Clouds (U14258963) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    If you didn't want to give to a religious foodbank, why did you? If it matters to you the context in which you give, why didn't you check before giving? I'm afraid I'd find it very difficult to believe that you didn't know that a serious chunk of charities and voluntary groups in this country are run by people with a particular religious, spiritual or political (small p) angle.

    I have no problem with foodbanks that are, as you put it, run professionally, but I don't see why that should stop people with a shared belief in something from running religiously-orientated foodbanks. What next - no exercise class in the church centre because of the altar at the end of the room and the religious tracts on the walls? No free lifts to hospital because the person giving the lift wants to play hymns on the car stereo?

    And if you want professionally run foodbanks, who's going to run them? I've nothing against anyone setting up such a foodbank, but what's professionally run? I assume you mean not-religiously motivated. OK, well there's nothing to stop you going out there and setting one up. It just seems to me that at the moment it's the people with religious motivation that are mostly doing it. That doesn't mean others can't if they want to.

    Or do you mean run by the state? If so, why not just get the benefits system working properly so that people get the help they need from the state and put more money into the social fund?

    Report message46

  • Message 47

    , in reply to message 42.

    Posted by Lynetta Pavlova (U14864661) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    The dreadful thing is that we are now creating a poor working class; paid peanuts, terrified to complain about shoddy treatment because they know there are others who can take their place 

    but it was always like that. I came from a poor working class family and my mother drilled it into me that the only way of escape was to not be one of the people being paid peanuts. That is, I should have something worth selling to an employer, other than the sweat of my brow. So when my friends were going out to clubs, or staying up late to watch things on TV, my parents would always say no, you must do your homework and study for a good well paid job. Then you will be free.

    My parents were poor but wise. 

    You are, I'm sorry to say, seriously mistaken if you think qualifications automatically bring rewards nowadays. I can only imagine that you have a rather narrow circle of acquaintance and little knowledge of modern poverty or you really couldn't believe this. I know a great many people from a huge variety of backgrounds. Some are very rich, some very poor. Some of the latter are well-qualified and highly intelligent; some of the former are poorly-educated but successful entrepreneurs.

    Of course it's a good idea to do as well as you can at school and beyond - though my parents always said education was important for its own sake, not for employment - but you try telling the graduate (quite possibly from an 'elite' university) working as a part-time sales assistant or in a coffee shop that they're 'free' of the peanuts-pay, rotten treatment culture. I'd stand well back, though, if I were you. And be ready to run.



    Report message47

  • Message 48

    , in reply to message 46.

    Posted by sweet-rocket (U11357111) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    My take on religious foodbanks - or indeed any faith based charity - is that the members or supporters of the charity are fulfilling the requirements of their religion on *them* to do good works, and it's not ethical to use the charity as a vehicle for proselytising.

    Report message48

  • Message 49

    , in reply to message 48.

    Posted by Sunny Clouds (U14258963) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    But surely if it's their money, their time, their effort, then so long as it's legal, whether it's ethical is a matter for them?

    Again, another parallel. I go to a Christingle service at my friend's church each Christmas. (We come from different denominational traditions.) At the back, they have cards and gifts laid out. They give gifts at the service.

    They could, if they wished, post a sentry on the door to check that people who came in and listened to the service and took something home with them were regular churchgoers, but they don't.

    So then where do you draw the line? Say that they can only offer gifts if it's to regular members?

    If not, is it wrong to say that if you want a gift, you go to the service?

    By extension, should a church-led foodbank check the church attendance of people coming for a parcel?

    Where do you draw the line?

    I think that in a free society, I'm entitled to offer sharing my views and sharing my food as a package. I don't have to give either.

    As for the religious obligation to do good works, Jesus made it absolutely clear that there was an obligation not only to share food but to proselytise.

    I think that if people don't like the idea of others accepting food from those who wish to give it as part of a package, then it's down to them to get together and set up an alternative foodbank.

    What next? The church can't run a creche because it's only available for people attending mass? The mosque can't let homeless people sleep on its floor if they explain what they believe to the people wanting free floor space?

    It seems to me that if you don't like the way your neighbours offer their money, time and effort for free, you give yours differently.

    Report message49

  • Message 50

    , in reply to message 49.

    Posted by Penstemon (U4429639) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    I don't think it's begging, it's certainly accepting charity but begging, no. I think if it were just me I wouldn't think I would use it, but to feed my children? Yes I would certainly accept charity to feed them whatever charity it was, and I am an atheist as well

    Report message50

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