To think Edwina Currie should do a few stints in a Food Bank...

(80 Posts)
Misspixietrix Wed 29-Jan-14 10:04:01

...to realise how ignorant her comments are? Just been reading the Morning Paper in which she is quoted to say Food Banks are the reason shops are closing hmm. I can't link as using the phone to MN. At one it says "The ex-MP said many who rely on Food Banks are 'not poor' and have 'substantial benefits' to live on". I'm a volunteer for the Trussell Trust. To say this comment stinks of ignorance would be an understatement.

Misspixietrix Wed 29-Jan-14 20:11:49

I can't quite get over the shy brazenness of the lies half truths they keep spinning. If there's that many more people in work than ever before why are we seeing more and more clients every week? And if theyre doing such a good job of the economy and a living wage. WhY are we needing more food banks?

Misspixietrix Wed 29-Jan-14 16:16:29

Indeed sancti

SanctiMoanyArse Wed 29-Jan-14 16:09:53

Literacy is fab, it won't address the very real fact that there are fewer jobs than applicants and many unemployed people are highly qualified in this market, but literacy is always a positive action plan.

It's not going to feed a hungry five year old though. Or his parents. And hungry people don't learn well, so you'd just be adding to the problem hugely by shifting all funding across from food to education. There are places for both.

Misspixietrix Wed 29-Jan-14 16:07:11

Wet I'm out at the minute but I'm happy to respond to it with sensible reasons as to why commenting on the fact that literacy lessons and driving lessons are good long term ideas to help people more employable. It doesnt fix the immediate problem that some clients come in with. Also as already has been stated. It's not mostly benefit claimants that use food banks. How do you propose fixing the problem of a family man of 4 going from 40hrs a week contract to 8 for a zero hour contract and not having two pennies to rub together. How do we stop his boss from doing this to him again? Especially when given the contract hours he most probably won't be entitled to any in work benefits as he isn't working enough hours. This is the bonkers problems we see occurring at the minute.

KayHarker1 Wed 29-Jan-14 16:01:58

HopALongOn, have some thanks. Glum day or not, you're doing a great job.

SanctiMoanyArse Wed 29-Jan-14 15:56:28

Wets a dear, dear friend worked zero hours for a formerly successful retail chain. Most weeks she would work lots of hours which she combined with looking after her son, some weeks she would get nothing. When she had one of those weeks, she was eligible for benefits but the processing speed could take months- over time she spent all savings and could not manage, those contracts being the norm in our industry. In the end her son had to go live with her husband as she was no longer able to maintain rent reliably, and ended up in a bedsit.

Her son's father is on another continent, she has not been able to afford to visit him this year. It has broken her heart.

Not a workshy scrounger or any of the things you hear thrown about, a really lovely, caring person who now works MW in a FT contract but can't save up the money for airfares.

SanctiMoanyArse Wed 29-Jan-14 15:52:46

Oh can I have the literacy lessons please?

I shall shortly have an MA but no matter, clearly I am illiterate.

SanctiMoanyArse Wed 29-Jan-14 15:52:06

OK so

In personal life recently almost ended up using foodbank when someone fraudulently took the food budget from the bank account (luckily bank managed to speed up recovery process). For those of us low paid employed families with no family (well, in this country, we have some in England but they don't drive and broke never filled a petrol tank), they are a potential lifeline.

Professionally in past life used to be able to refer people to a local resource, the most common reasons were benefits messed up by DWP / council, or purse nicked or lost. I assume sanctions up there now as well sadly. Quite apart from being unable to budget, the majority of the families I worked with were far better at it than I, and I often took their advice over saving a few quid here and there. Blanket judgements just don't work. the one main thing I learned working at the coalface for a charity was that EVERYONE had a backstory, but often it took a while to learn it. That didn't make everyone perfect- there are no doubt as many flawed members of the workless community as there are in any other group- but you could see what had happened, understand. And once you understand you can start to actually help people change and move forwards (not always into work, that's not always possible depending on the person's needs, but to a more secure footing whatever).

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 29-Jan-14 15:35:07

Well, in short wet the benefits system doesn't manage the fluctuating wage thing very well. Hence people end up firmly up shit creek. Zero hours contracts are a total con and a way to massage unemployment figures, I think. Yes you have found a job that says it will give you 18 hours a week, so you are no longer unemployed but actually some weeks you get far less and some far more (generally less) but it fluctuates enough to keep you on the books, give you fuck all in the way of rights and leaves you in a nightmare situation with regard to tax credits etc. Also very easy to get rid of a staff member if you keep them on zero hours.

The thing is so many have been arguing for so long, that you get a bit numb to it all and when someone doesn't see something that you view as totally self evident and obvious, you think 'really?! REALLY?!' but it doesn't help to say things like that, I know. That people can be in work, and still unable to provide enough money to feed their family and keep them warm at the same time, is so appalling in the UK in 2014 that quite a lot of people think it can't be true. They must be making bad choices, right? In some cases, yes, but I can't really blame people (who other sideline in the total shitfest that is generational poverty and how people choose to 'escape' from that etc). In quite a lot of cases, there's just nothing to cut back, there are no more savings to be made and the money in doesn't equal the money out and then it's food banks, and fuel vouchers or stealing or getting into terrible debt or eviction... I don't know the answers to it all. I'm having a really glum day and feeling really negative about it all and that's probably showing, but I'm pretty confident that demonizing people who use food banks and labeling them as idiots who make shit choices is probably not going to help.

Edwina Currie and the rest of her ilk can, quite frankly, suck my metaphorical dick.

pointythings Wed 29-Jan-14 15:33:06

wet I know you are out, but yes, you can be sanctioned for refusing to take a zero hours contract. You can be sanctioned for missing a Job Centre attendance when you are attending a job interview. This is happening.

How does the benefits system manage the fluctuation in wages? Simple answer - badly to not at all, and people are suffering because of it. Do a little research and you will find out all about it unless you are happy in your bubble, of course.

Socks555 Wed 29-Jan-14 15:27:53

I take that back!

Socks555 Wed 29-Jan-14 15:26:23

Wow Wet!

That's folding on a game of poker, when you've got a good hand!!

wetaugust Wed 29-Jan-14 15:25:02

OK Game over.

I'm out

wetaugust Wed 29-Jan-14 15:24:34

Can someone please explain these zero hours contracts to me please.

Can the DWP insist that you take a job on a zero hours contract?

If so, how does the benefit system manage the fluctuation in wages (or lack of) from week to week?

I came on this thread to discuss. I don't appreciate snide comments like 'open your eyes'. So if that persists I will not bother with this thread anymore.

Socks555 Wed 29-Jan-14 15:22:52

LOL! teaching them to drive!!!

Such great insight!

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 29-Jan-14 15:21:37

Indeed pointythings.

Life isn't as cut and dry as this government would like us to believe.

pointythings Wed 29-Jan-14 15:19:18

Instead of donating a tin of beans I'd rather support a cause that taught people literacy, or taught the to drive

Yes, because of course people who need food banks are all illiterate people with no skills. hmm biscuit

There are people in work who need food banks because they are paid so little or are on zero-hours contracts. Open your eyes.

Socks555 Wed 29-Jan-14 15:14:51

Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of "others" toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism or selflessness is the opposite of selfishness.

SanctiMoanyArse Wed 29-Jan-14 15:13:00

'Foodbamks are very ultruistic but they are also a very blunt instrument and don't provide a longterm sustainable solution to the problems these people face.'

nottheir role.

Off on school run, will elaborate from personal experience and professional also

Socks555 Wed 29-Jan-14 15:09:08

Ah! Sure I've been there, we didn't have food banks then though. The DWP or whoever didn't have a choice but sort the problem out and though they rarely did, at least they were held accountable.

Now all the pressure seems to have been thrown on your shoulders.

I can't help but think all these cuts are going to end up costing the taxpayer more in the long run, in fact I'm sure of it.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Wed 29-Jan-14 15:01:27

Thanks socks. I don't want to be too specific but the people I work with are generally in a poor position financially, because they are doing a loving thing (and saving this poxy government a fortune). And to be told that they are making poor life choices and are constantly on the edge of disaster due to their own fault, makes me incandescent with rage.

wet what usually happens is that someone comes to us and needs a food voucher, we give it to them and then we make sure they are referred to all the agencies they need; so they need a benefits check with the CAB, they need advice on fuel debt so we refer them a service for that, they are having problems with their mental health so we help them access support from their GP, they are having issues with their employer so we can advocate on their behalf etc. It is as much of a holistic approach as we can give them. If it happens again and again then we keep looking at how we can help, even if we can't give more vouchers for a food parcel, there might be other emergency fund they can access, and we can continue to support them with the root causes of their poverty, as best we can. It is far from a perfect system, but it's the best we have and we help as many people, as much as we can.

Misspixietrix Wed 29-Jan-14 14:25:53

JakeBullet I dread to think of what could have happened if it wasn't for these Food Banks. Socks thankyou that's a lovely thing to say. flowers. I admire the people who manage to go to the professionals and ask for help whilst somehow managing to keep it together.

KayHarker1 Wed 29-Jan-14 14:23:34

Blimey, they might even get a cup of tea and some biscuits. You never know.

Misspixietrix Wed 29-Jan-14 14:22:08

KayHarker grin at we don't just throw food at people.it's true. We spend a lot of time with them. Many are just grateful for half an hour in the warm sad

Misspixietrix Wed 29-Jan-14 14:19:43

Wet august. It's primarily because it can also be classed as a Health concern why GPs are able to refer. same with why Schools/SS have to as its a health risk to any DCs involved. I do partly agree with you that it is not the GPs remit to solve the problems which might have precipitated the crisis. However. If it were to do with Benefits being delayed or sanctioned. Then yes. The Jobcentre can help avoid the situation arising again. By stop sanctioning the hell out of people. Stop employers from changing workers contracts and leaving them in a mess. Yes that's doable too.

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