22 Oct 2011

Sign of dire times: Food Bank comes to Stroud

One in four are now in fuel poverty in the UK - this is an issue I have worked on locally - chairing the inquiries that led to the Energy Strategy for the Council (see here). Sadly that will do far too little to tackle the growing problems - 30% are now in poverty in the UK - we hear that by 2020 some 3.3 million children will live in relative poverty while 3.1 will be living in absolute poverty according to analysis by the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies ie the longest sustained rise in child poverty since the 80s.

Edwina Currie says she can't believe anyone goes hungry in the UK - well she is so so wrong - see a useful piece in The Guardian here that shows Child Poverty Action Groups research. In Stroud a small group of local Christians have been working to set up a Food Bank. This is an ecumenical group with full backing of Churches Together in Stroud. I give this a huge, huge welcome as in the charity I work for I have already come across people in dire situations who would benefit from this short term help......

A Food Bank collects non-perishable foodstuff and through a voucher scheme distributes it to those in need. The vouchers would be given out by clergy, CAB, GPs and others who help less fortunate people. The aim is to provide food to help over the short term until statutory provision can be arranged. There are already a growing number of these banks across the nation supported by local Churches and the Trussell Trust. Locally our Churches have given harvest produce to the Stroud Foodbank.

But oh how sad - what a sign of the times that we have to have such banks....here is a comment from Positive Money:

The basic rules of economics do not require child poverty  -  or indeed any other kind of poverty.
It is the present rules of finance, not the rules of economics, which encourage poverty, by insisting that the number of financial units lent into existence by profit-making private businesses should determine both the level and nature of economic activity and the distribution of purchasing power.
The rules of  economic prosperity are very different from those of finance.  The rules of economic prosperity do not state that financial scarcity rules, ok.  The rules of economic prosperity put money firmly in its place by requiring that anything which is physically possible and socially desirable should be made financially possible.

The Government may have inherited a situation where the money isn’t there: but it should stop acting helpless and ignoring the basic rules for a thriving economy. Instead, it should accept its responsibilities, and legislate for a stable money supply, issued free from any debt at source, and spent into circulation on projects which increase the nation’s real wealth.

Sadly the situation is also dire in the US. More than one out five American children live in poverty while one of all 6 Americans live in poverty. The overall poverty rate climbed to 15.1 percent up from 14.3 percent in 2009. Income rates are also down - see here. Meanwhile I came across a staggering fact that 30 million tons of food was dumped in US landfills in 2009!

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