"Food stamps" arrive in Britain next month. Good idea or not?

(202 Posts)
vivizone Wed 27-Mar-13 01:18:31



Food vouchers to provide emergency help but prevent spending on alcohol
Campaigners raise alarm as English councils replace cash loans with payment cards for people facing short-term financial crises

"Food stamps" arrive in Britain next month, when tens of thousands of vulnerable people will be issued with food vouchers in lieu of money to tide them over short-term financial crises.

Rather than, as now, offering a cash loan, most councils will from April offer new applicants who qualify for emergency assistance a one-off voucher redeemable for goods such as food and nappies.

Many of the 150 local authorities in England running welfare schemes have confirmed that they will issue the vouchers in the form of payment cards, which will be blocked or monitored to prevent the holder using them for alcohol, cigarettes or gambling.

Several plan to issue charity food parcels to people applying for crisis help, and are preparing to give cash grants to food banks to enable them to take on full-time staff and increase opening hours.

Each authority has drawn up eligibility rules, setting out who will qualify for crisis help and the conditions under which it will be given. One plans to make emergency help conditional on good behaviour.

The shift to in-kind and voluntary assistance follows the decision last year to abolish the government-run social fund and to replace it with more than 150 welfare assistance schemes, operated by English local authorities and the Welsh and Scottish governments.

The social fund – known as the "backstop" of the welfare system – typically offered small loans of about £50, repayable against future benefits, to help vulnerable individuals who faced short-term crises as a result of having cash stolen or benefits delayed.

A separate set of cash grants, typically worth about £1,000, was made to people with a disability, ex-prisoners and victims of domestic violence, to enable them to buy or replace items that would help them live independently, such as beds, clothing and kitchen utensils.

Although social fund spending represents a relatively tiny chunk of the social security bill, there is concern that the new arrangements will for the first time build into mainstream welfare provision the distribution of food voluntarily donated by the public, schools and businesses.

Lady Lister, a Labour peer and poverty expert, said the shift from cash loans to in-kind help would leave the most vulnerable people "high and dry".

"The social fund was a safety net under the safety net," Lister said. "I do not call putting money into food banks a safety net."

Some fear the use of in-kind vouchers will repeat the shortcomings of cashless payment cards, issued to asylum seekers. Critics said these cards left users unable to buy essential non-food items, and made them more likely to turn to risky or criminal ways of obtaining cash.

One welfare charity worker said: "There's a lot of naivety. The social fund is big, and meets a whole range of needs. There's going to be an awful lot of people that will need to tap into its successor."

But councils say huge reductions, in some cases cuts of up to a third, in the amount allocated to support people in hardship have left them with no option but to offer vouchers, refer applicants to food banks and secondhand furniture projects, and to drastically tighten eligibility. The government spent £230m on the social fund in 2009-10 but has allocated £178m to local authorities for 2013-14.

Inquiries by the Guardian found that:

• Conservative-run Hampshire council plans to invest a big chunk of its welfare fund allocation in charities and food banks. Over time, it hopes to stop offering food vouchers as part of a shift towards "reducing the entitlement culture".

• Labour-run Manchester city council will offer successful applicants low-interest loans of up to £200 a year, with a credit union, rather than food vouchers. It says in future years grants for furniture and cooking utensils will be offered on condition that recipients sign up to "expected behaviours and actions".

• Bristol city council's crisis fund restricts emergency payments to food, heating, nappies and toiletries. It says the cards "should not be used for cigarettes, alcohol or entertainment", and if misuse occurs it will seek repayment.

• Labour-controlled Darlington council plans to invest £58,000 in a church food bank, including £30,000 to enable the charity to take on a full-time worker.

From April, thousands of applicants who now have access to crisis help will be turned down under the schemes. Many councils plan to refer the expected rising numbers of unsuccessful applicants to soup kitchens and other charities.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said: "Local authorities have been given a difficult task, to deliver support on a reduced budget at a time of rising need.

"But we are seriously concerned that some authorities will not be providing any access to cash to families to meet their essential needs, and may be offering support in a way that serves to stigmatise those who need it."

Others have warned that people who are turned down for crisis help will turn to crime, begging or loan sharks. Almost all authorities are bracing themselves for an expected rise in demand for crisis support from April, when the bulk of the benefit reforms, aimed at saving £18bn, are introduced. Among these is the so-called bedroom tax.

There is also nervousness that any glitches in universal credit, from October, will see an increase in poorer households seeking help from welfare schemes.

The government, and some charities, have argued that the existing system of crisis loans was abused by people – often young men – who did not use the loans for genuine emergencies. They argue the new system will discourage dependency, more efficiently directing scarce resources at the people who most need them.

The Guardian also found that:

• The cost of administering each of the 150-plus new welfare assistance schemes is typically equivalent to around 20% of the value of the entire local fund. Several authorities, including the Welsh government, have outsourced the running of the voucher schemes to private contractors.

• Local authorities are worried that the new patchwork of welfare assistance systems will lead to a postcode lottery, with vulnerable people moving to apply for crisis help in more "generous" boroughs.

• There are concerns that some welfare systems will not be ready by 1 April. The Furniture Re-use Network said a survey showed two-thirds of its members believed the new system would not be in place in time. There are concerns that, despite huge growth in the numbers of food banks in the past two years, many parts of the country will have little charity food assistance capacity.

ComposHat Wed 27-Mar-13 01:25:10

Food stamps and the unemployed labouring for free in Pound land: is this is what we have become? We should be ashamed.

Historians of the future will look back in disbelief that this happened in the UK in 2013.

Sunnywithshowers Wed 27-Mar-13 01:45:18

This is a filthy, dehumanising idea. We are demonising the poor.

I imagine these stamps will be only available to use in a small number of shops - not necessarily the cheapest, nor the best value. So a person can't buy a huge bag of veg from the market, for example: instead they have to go to a supermarket and buy more expensive ones. What if they don't need food - perhaps they need a bus fare, a biro, a book of stamps?

I can't begin to express how angry I am about this and how we as a society are treating poor and vulnerable people.

mathanxiety Wed 27-Mar-13 01:46:03

How jolly! Back to the 1930s without all those cloth caps and hungry children with rickets.

It has worked so well in the US hmm of course it makes 100% sense to plunge right in in the UK. At least you can get nappies using the card which isn't always the case in the US. Or toiletries, tampons, etc. Amazing they haven't realised that and decided this would be a really good way to discourage dependency. Yes, battered mothers, think twice about casting yourself on the mercy of the taxpayer.

When is the next election?

Nothing surprises me with this government anymore.

Words fail me at this systematic corralling of vulnerable people. IDS said today when being interviewed about the Universal Tax Credit changes that they were manaing people into a new cultural stage by ensuring everyone has to use a PC to claim the benefit. It is making me feel quite sick thinking of the ways certain areas of our society are being managed and restricted to the point where they are going to be in a worse situation than they are now.

Darkesteyes Wed 27-Mar-13 01:56:29

Agree that its a disgusting inhumane idea. Britain in 2013. It makes me want to SCREAM.

Someone on the Guardian site commented ...... UKA United Kingdom Of America!

Im glad though that the Guardian are running with this on the front page today not just tucked away in the Society section.
I am very very scared.

Darkesteyes Wed 27-Mar-13 01:59:58

math ive seen studies on the internet which show that the amount of children being treated for rickets has risen . So im afraid thats back too.
Who needs a fucking Tardis or a DeLorean when we have this shower of shit in power!!

Dryjuice25 Wed 27-Mar-13 02:02:58

Whilst at it why not just get Obama to come and run our country. After all we like/copy most things American. Tried and tested my foot!

mathanxiety Wed 27-Mar-13 02:03:54

shock but not really a surprise I suppose.

mathanxiety Wed 27-Mar-13 02:04:46

This is more a Reagan-esque thing than Obama.

Dryjuice25 Wed 27-Mar-13 02:08:13

@mathanxiety I know what you mean. Food stamps were not Obamas brainchild.But I wouldn't mind importing him here grin

sashh Wed 27-Mar-13 05:21:03

I had a crisis loan a couple of months ago. I was offered several weeks work but I needed to actually get there. I'm disabled and it was a 60 mile round trip so no chance of walking.

I phoned and explained the situation. I was told they could only help with food.

I lied, they lent me £47, I paid for my petrol, worked for 3 months and paid the loan back within a month.

This scheme would mean I would have had to stop work after one day.

They already give these card to failed asylum seekers. One thing they do not pay for is bus fare so you have to walk to the nearest shop that takes your vouchers.

All the big supermarkets will take the vouchers but how many are located where anyone lives?

wannabeEostregoddess Wed 27-Mar-13 05:36:47

Why the FUCK are CHARITIES being used to plug the gap?

David Cameron needs to wake the fuck up and stop this. Its getting ridiculous now.

It will be workhouses by 2015.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Wed 27-Mar-13 06:39:14

It is this idea that the Feckless Poor will spend the money on beer and fags, isn't it?

I am reminded of my history lessons, where the Parish would allow poor people to come before them, like an interview panel, explain why they needed some money, beg for it really, then it would be decided whether they deserved it and they'd normally get some sort of lecture into the bargain.

The poor had to wear a P on their clothes.


and tudor times when any able bodied person who didn't have a job could be flogged and made a slave.

I remember reading about the Poor Law and thinking oh my god, how dreadful. Thank god we don't treat people like that any more.

Now I think - Well. Give it time.

TheDemonShedMaster Wed 27-Mar-13 06:41:19

is Workfare not the workhouse by any other name...?

Why the fuck are they investing in, and therefore 'normalising' food banks? We shouldn't need food banks at all. Fuuuuuuuck! Just when you think it can't get any worse.

NoelHeadbands Wed 27-Mar-13 06:52:14

This disgusts me, it really does.

redlac Wed 27-Mar-13 06:57:06

Another nudge towards me voting YES to an independent Scotland just to get away from the Tory scum

bochead Wed 27-Mar-13 07:09:25

A few thoughts

Vouchers will mean no fresh fruit and veg from Britains many excellent and varied fruit and veg markets, independent greengrocers etc (stall holders are small businesses and can sell just one apple + 2 onions etc if that's what the customer needs). Noone I know here in London buys all their foodstuffs from the Big four supermarket chains - too expensive.

No access to local retailers - so for rural dwellers a LONG walk to the nearest "acceptable retail outlet" usually on an expensive infrequent bus. In reality this may render a voucher useless for someone who is unable to walk ten miles to the nearest town, or for whom the bus only comes once a week.

Tesco's & the big corporates will monopolise voucher spending - extra profits, to top up those made by the savings they obtain via the use of free/subsidised workfare labour & zero hours contracts. Small business is the well from which economic recovery has always sprung after recession so this means that EVERYBODY will suffer. The quicker our economy gets back on it's feet the better for all sections of society.

Vouchers & food banks = useless for those on specialist medically advised diets, (suprising how many ceoliacs, CF, diabetics, eplieptics, severe allergies etc there are in the UK.) Being on a special diet alone is not currently classed as a disability - will this need to change?

Food banks - these are something the general public donate to out of the sheer goodness of their hearts. It's just abusing that kindness to make it an integral part of the welfare state iyswim. Then it becomes just another form of taxation rather than charity.

Vouchers - there are many necessities that are not food but that are needed anyway. Toilet paper, sanitary protection, detergent, first aid items, seeds, socks, items for school, stationary etc.

If the food voucher's don't include dog food we'll end up with feral packs roaming some parts as rescue shelters are already overflowing. No risks to public saftey with this one - lovely!

In America - an increasing minority of the poor now live in tent cities. Do we really want British children living in tents ffs? There are perhaps some trends from across the big pond that are a step too far a nation that struggled so hard to create a welfare state after centuries of watching our poorest suffer.

The UK has an emergent drug resistant strain of TB in some major cities(vaccination is only 30% effective). With increased levels of people forced to live in slum conditions are we ready for the rise of the attendant health problems (rickets is already on the march once more). Some of those health problems will turn out to be transmissable to the wider population.

We are returning to a form of neo-corporate feudalism. Feudalism first time round wasn't much fun for all but a teeny tiny elite.

QueenBee245 Wed 27-Mar-13 07:24:29

Seems the government will push and push untill we end up in a situation like Egypt and many countries in the Middle East....at least they'll have an excuse to chuck the protesters in the nearest (tax payer funded) prison and throw away the key hmm

QueenBee245 Wed 27-Mar-13 07:26:40

And while we are at it might aswell not bother paying for all those state funded schools when the children will only grow up to work in tesco or asda

AuntieStella Wed 27-Mar-13 07:33:20

This isn't a "Tory scum" issue.

The principle of vouchers was surrendered some time ago.

The Labour government used them for many years for newly arrived migrants pending resolution of status.

So these councils are each just following Labour policy.

People get what they vote for. The importance of local politics is all too often overlooked.

Dawndonna Wed 27-Mar-13 07:36:07

I see this sort of thing and I cry. The whole idea is for people to live in fear of the so called safety net.
We have returned to the Tories much lauded victorian values.

JakeBullet Wed 27-Mar-13 07:39:11

There ARE people for whom this would work, I am thinking specifically of people with existing drug and alcohol addictions. For most people though this is a bad idea which will prevent them shopping around for the best prices and ensure that the welfare goes straight to the big few supermarkets.

I am currently on benefits and my fruit and vegetables come from the local farm shop where prices are a fraction of what the supermarkets charge in many cases.

whois Wed 27-Mar-13 07:42:09

The Tory in me sad "yes food stamps, that'll sort out the feckless poor" but the realist in me knows its an awful system. Stigmatises the poor, limits choice of shop and prices, might need something other than food, open to abuse eg selling the card/stamps for cash at less than par.

But its not replacing benefits is it, its for the hopefully irregular crises, so not a general unavailability of fresh stuff. Plus no idea how many cheap market grocers are left for 'the poor' - most people end up in morrissons here, and our grocers closed two years ago.
Not sure what I think. My only experience is a friend getting a large amount towards furniture and giving half away, and spending the rest on days out. So , skewed here I'm afraid. (I know this is just one experience, but that's how you form views often.)

wordfactory Wed 27-Mar-13 07:45:33

notactually that's what I thought.

This only replaces crisis loans, doen't it? I mean how mnay of those do benefits claimants get? Not many I would hazard...which in many ways does beg ther question, why bother...

RubyGates Wed 27-Mar-13 07:47:05

At the risk of not frothing enough about the evils of the Tory govenment:

"*Rather than, as now, offering a cash loan, most councils will from April offer new applicants who qualify for emergency assistance a one-off voucher redeemable for goods such as food and nappies* "

So only a one-off emergency stop-gap event, not a regular weekly/monthly payment


" will issue the vouchers in the form of payment cards, which will be blocked or monitored to prevent the holder using them for alcohol, cigarettes or gambling ".

So not socks, biros, or sanitary protection.

As a one-off emergency measure it doesn't seem that iniquitous. It's only if the scheme is extended to be the regular way of payment for weekly/monthly benefits that it becomes more sinister for all the reasons mentioned above.

wordfactory Wed 27-Mar-13 07:52:42

Thta's what I thought ruby.

Though I guess some claimants may well have crises for things other than food and nappies. I'd be interested to see what other stuff is covered in the voucher.

bochead Wed 27-Mar-13 07:56:55

My anedoctal experience of crisis loans (so very limited!) is of them being used for:

1/ A cooker for a family of five kids (one disabled) two parents and a very infirm Gran.

2/ An emergency plumber for a single Mum with a burst pipe & no water.

3/ Food and school stuff for a couple of single parents after tax credit/benefits errors that left them potless.

In all cases the money had to be paid back.

I don't personally any of the young male drug addicts and alcoholics others have referred to, but I'm sure this group would abuse ANY system, or just mug an old lady if they couldn't. Not sure general social policy that impacts families and ordinary single folks should be dictated by the anti-social criminal minority.

fluffyraggies Wed 27-Mar-13 08:00:02

"one-off voucher redeemable for goods such as food and nappies."

"which will be blocked or monitored to prevent the holder using them for alcohol, cigarettes or gambling."

The devil is in the detail. There's a big ? in between food and nappies and alcohol and gambling.

How will they monitor what's been purchased anyway? What sort of card would it be?

JennyPiccolo Wed 27-Mar-13 08:09:10

I'm with you redlac, but I am still disgusted for the people in England who have a disintegrating nhs and crap like this to be dealing with.

Have any of the big chain shops actually said they will accept the vouchers? And how would they plan on stopping shops ringing through fags or whatever as food? Seems like another idea that's been thought out for 2 seconds with no actual clue as to the effect it will have.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Wed 27-Mar-13 08:11:54

bochead just a point of interest coeliacs can get food on prescription from the nhs.

Nothing else to add re the actual op. it leaves a bad taste in the mouth though.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 27-Mar-13 08:12:52

The problem with making anything dependant on good behaviour is its often subjective and exposes a vulnerable person to the whim of a human being often a jaded one who may have several bad days or personal feelings.

Dawndonna Wed 27-Mar-13 08:16:09

Not all coeliacs can get food on prescription, this has been down to the relevant health authority for a few years now. Some pay, some don't.

Flisspaps Wed 27-Mar-13 08:19:48

Bad, bad, bad idea.

What about other crises that don't involve food? People whose electric or gas is about to run out because of this ridiculous weather...doesn't look like it was QUITE cold enough to warrant a cold weather payment this week (God knows why!) which many people (including myself) have relied on in the past to stop us all from freezing...or as a PP said, plumbing emergency etc

Drug addicts and alcoholics WILL get their money elsewhere if they can no longer get crisis loans....so all this does is shift the problem elsewhere (rise in crime, selling the vouchers). God forbid they invest in the drug and alcohol services in this country.

Yet again, punishing the many for the actions of a few...

wannabeEostregoddess Wed 27-Mar-13 08:30:07

Food stamps and food banks to replace crisis loans only now.

How long until it starts creeping into othr benefits?

Its the Big Society remember? DC sees the foodbanks as A Good Thing.

noddyholder Wed 27-Mar-13 08:37:14

These will becoe tradeable and exchanged for less than their worth to get other things. This country is going backwards.moving people from their homes forcing them to work fr a pittance and now this. Not too far from the scenario in Cyprus

SecretLindtBunny Wed 27-Mar-13 08:40:20

Watch shoplifting rise.

I would also be willing to bet that there will be some parents who will get their children to shoplift as the age of criminal responsibility is 10. On my estate, there are a couple of families like that now.

If they issue food vouchers, then they need to issue temporary bus vouchers as well. What good is a food voucher if the nearest shop it can be used in is ten miles or more from where you live?

Meglet Wed 27-Mar-13 08:54:59

So what happens when someone uses their voucher in sainsburys and sticks a bottle of wine / vodka / beer on the conveyor belt anyway? The checkout staff will be expected to challenge them on that. Fair enough if you're going up against kids trying to buy alcohol but I'm not sure it will much fun arguing the toss with a grown adult on food stamps.

RubyGates Wed 27-Mar-13 09:01:32

Meglet, I suspect that they will just say "copmputer says no".
Assitant will say "How would you like to pay for that sir?

If the card is designed to not pay for alcohol then you'd have to pay for that on top with actual, real money. Just like when I sometimes pay for half my shopping with cash and half with a card. Computer tills can work it out.

Why would that be embarassing or awkward?

The scheme itself is, however, badly thought out.

AnneEyhtMeyer Wed 27-Mar-13 09:05:17

I feel for the checkout staff.

As a teenager I worked in a chemist as a Saturday girl, and people who were given milk tokens to buy formula used to rage at us that they couldn't spend them on something else or swap them for cash. I was pushed up against the wall by one "customer" because he couldn't buy cigarettes with them, never mind the fact that Boots didn't sell cigarettes.

ParsingFancy Wed 27-Mar-13 09:12:54

Still, in a silver lining, 20% of the social fund will now go to private companies for admin. So someone's happy.

My main issues are:

1) How specific the vouchers are. Presumably you can only spend them in shops to start with. So what if you need the money for the bus fare to work? Well you are stuffed. If you live rurally how are you doing to GET to the shop that sells food?
2) Why 'social behaviour' conditions are being put on loans by some councils - why does a woman fleeing domestic violence with her kids need to sign a bit of paper saying she won't do anything ASBO worthy? wtf? How is that relevant to her situation?
3) That addict/criminal folks who do waste crisis loans will find another way anyway. They will sell on or there will be a rise in crime as they find money elsewhere. So that's going to be nice for the people who live near them.
4) They've done this in America already. It doesn't work.

MumfordandDaughter Wed 27-Mar-13 09:59:35

Really frightening.

I can remember when my daughter was a baby and i had to claim income support for a few months. My HV helped me apply for Healthy Start vouchers, which (if i remember correctly) were vouchers worth £2.50 per week to spend on fruit, veg and milk.

I was over the moon! However, after five attempts at using these vouchers in different stores, i stopped my claim for them. I was made to feel like utter scum. The cashiers would always be friendly and chatty until it came to payment where i brought out my vouchers. They'd ruffle through my bags, huffing and puffing, making sure I'd bought the correct stuff. The customers behind me would whisper and sigh, too.

To be honest, i'd rather starve than put myself through that again. (However, if it was my daughter starving, i guess I'd have to suck it up and use them). With these 'food stamps', so many people will be made to feel the same as i was. Why not just tattoo their foreheads with 'I am poor and receive welfare'?

And what if i had endless supplies of tins and packets and freezer food - but had no money whatsoever? Would these 'food stamps' help pay for utilities, rent, council tax? Would they help buy clothes?

What shop could i use these food stamps in? What if i bought my food from a market stall because it was more local to me and cheaper? These places only accept cash.

It's disgusting. We're gradually heading back to olden days. And with lots of people supporting the decision to leave the EU, i fear for our human rights.

I wonder how long it will be before headlines such as 'Government intend to open large communal house to home the poor' hit us...

CloudsAndTrees Wed 27-Mar-13 10:06:27

The intention of the is to get people through a crisis. It's not long term, it's about emergency support, so I don't have a problem with a system that ensures money given for emergency support can only be used on emergency support.

AudrinaAdare Wed 27-Mar-13 10:06:33

Not long, Mumford, in fact most towns already have large buildings which could be used for this very purpose once the "NHS" signs are taken down.

Clouds Who are you/the council to decide what form that support should take though? Why isn't only food, toiletries etc allowed? Why not public transport, furniture, school clothes?

Not all crisis are the same.

Latara Wed 27-Mar-13 10:16:41

I cannot wait until the next election; i just hope that Labour actually do something to reverse the Tory policies.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 27-Mar-13 10:22:02

Not all crises are the same, I realise that, but I don't think emergency money should be given out for school clothes and furniture.

I can see an argument for transport being needed in an emergency, but that could be solved with a bus pass, it doesn't have to be solved with cash.

This is about short term survival. It's not about getting your child a new school uniform because theirs got stained. It's not about getting you a new dining table because yours got broken. It's about getting through a genuine crisis. No one needs school uniforms and furniture to get through a crisis.

Bus passes cost money and no one has said they will be giving those out either.

Why assume that new uniform was needed because the old one was stained? What about ruined in a house fire? I remember that happened to a friend when I was at school. Her family had absolutely nothing except the pjs they ran out of the house in. Thankfully they were insured and reasonably wealthy... if you are poor you are fucked in that kind of situation.

There is no need to be so prescriptive, it doesn't solve anything - just makes it harder for those in real dire straits to get the help they need at that particular moment.

mam29 Wed 27-Mar-13 10:32:39

Im really not sure what I think.

Its important to state its for crisis not as regular form benefit payments which I think is case in USA.

I can see outside urban areas its much harder as have commute to big town .

I have co-op, sainburys, morrisons, tesco, iceland, aldis and lilds all walkable distance from my home and on bus route.

Noticed Asda runs free bus.

maybe temporay free bus passes alongside voucher as its good enough for wealthy oaps.

I have a freind whos ceoliacs and best place is sainsburys as they have large free from range. would it be taken in holland and barret.

would like to see more detail.

I can see how it hurtsh ability to shop around although a few would say any remaining independents are expensive not cheaper.

Our local farm shop and farmers market cost more.

normal food market we dont have that can be cheaper.

I used to work in shop.

In the more affluent areas guess healthy start had a stigma.
Although I never judged anyone.
but I have got load of abuse by not allowing them to spend it on fags or other things.

In more deprived areas my staff who also lived their made no judgement as vouchers were so common.

I can compare newbury was less than £50 milk vouchers as had to add them up end of week.

deprived estate in bristol -£500-£1000 a week sent to head office.

yes I guess it does boost retailers sales.

But working in deprived areas I have seen how some spend their money but guess they the minority.

takeaways, gambling, fags, booze.

it penalises the responsible.

bit it also possibly protects the vunerable from paying loan shark, gambling, drinking least brings food and nappies in.

I guess what wrorries me most is its council led so area areas be treated less favourably than others,

Another postcode lottory.

I guess the coucnils that have high amounts of benefits may chosse it.

Ots not political issue as not just torys its labour councils too.

as usual another scare mongongering and lack detail and has bias from middleclass luvvies at the guardian.

would love to see independdant article on same topic.

devil is in the detail which we dont have.

idiuntno57 Wed 27-Mar-13 10:36:20

this makes me want to weep for our country.

What have we become and HOW THE FUCK have we allowed this to get so far?

Still can't get over the link between current government and payday lenders who are going to have a field day
this was on another thread but it's terrifying

RenterNomad Wed 27-Mar-13 10:37:55

If we subsidise poor wages, won't we end up with more Wal*Marts?!

SecretLindtBunny Wed 27-Mar-13 10:40:17

Mam29, many of us believe it is a pre-cursor to this being brought out across the board.

A few years ago there was the New Deal for people looking for work if they had been on benefits for 6 months or so and now the government is trying to get a much more extreme form pushed in . Workfare.

I am not in the position to need benefits. Both DH and I work and together we earn a fairly decent living which allows us some luxuries. However we live in an area of high and increasing unemployment and disability, we see what can happen in this current economic climate and God help you if you have a child with additional needs.

wannabeEostregoddess Wed 27-Mar-13 10:41:45

Its basically punishing people who have nothing for having a crisis. They cannot save on benefits (if they could can you imagine the outcry) yet when a crisis hits and they need help they are given vouchers and treated like children who cannot budget or prioritise.

Some people on benefits are vulnerable and also some are irresponsible. But this is penalising the majority because of a few. And the vulnerable will still fall through the net!

SecretLindtBunny Wed 27-Mar-13 10:45:43

I often think of the poem that is attributed to Martin Niemoller.

It is incredibly and uncomfortably applicable to change the words at the end of each line.
Substitute sick and disabled; single parent; poor in place of Jew, Socialis, communist etc.

Everyone is just one event away from needing Government help just to live. A redundancy, an accident. Most people I know don't like to think about it, cocooned in a shell of "it won't happen to me".

AThingInYourLife Wed 27-Mar-13 11:03:34

"No one needs school uniforms and furniture to get through a crisis."

This wins the Idiotic Prejudice of the Day award.

The only way that statement can be true is if you define "crisis" so that it excludes anything relating to school clothes or furnishings.

The whole point of the social fund was to provide flexibility at the bottom if all else failed and people were stuck.

Restricting what kind of crises they are allowed to have is idiotic.

And spiteful.

Snowme Wed 27-Mar-13 11:06:40

I remembered queuing up for a Social Fund loan once, listening to the young couple in front talking about how it was paying for their summer holiday to Ibiza.
At that time, I needed mine to pay for a cot and moses basket as I'd just lost my job and the baby's father refused to help financially.

But I admit I've used mine in the past to pay for Christmas presents.

Credit Union loans are a good idea, as are vouchers. But then again, there's a black market trade on the Healthy Start* vouchers. Most supermarkets take the voucher as pay,want towards the total cost of the shopping bill, even of you've only bought one pint of milk. You don't get cash change from them.
They've been a lifesaver for me at times.

*Fruit/veg/formula/milk only £3.10 voucher per week issued per child under 4.

Snowme Wed 27-Mar-13 11:09:05

Do supermarkets donate to food banks the tonnes of one day over sell-by food?

ZZZenAgain Wed 27-Mar-13 11:09:33

I think it is all going to get a lot tougher. The housing situation for people on benefits is bound to change dramatically in the next 15 years. Hard times ahead for sure.

AudrinaAdare Wed 27-Mar-13 11:15:16

Supermarkets? I was told on here that Tesco put the bought food bank items back on the shelves at the end of the day.

ParsingFancy Wed 27-Mar-13 11:19:03

Snowme, these were loans?

So regardless of what the young couple were stupid enough to spend it on (or whether your Xmas presents were important), all of you paid back all of the money? And within a set period, secured against your benefits? Did you pay interest too?

Because I don't feel the need to curtail a vital safety net for everyone just to stop individuals being twats occasionally.

KansasCityOctopus Wed 27-Mar-13 11:27:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I am on my way to work, so will not be staying on the thread. As many will know, I am a SW. My LA and the neighbouring one's have always used food/essential vouchers, rather than cash. There is also a “crisis“ fund for families. Education Welfare officers have access to school uniforms for some circumstances. If you have uniform spare, approach them, as they will keep a stock of second hand items. These measures have always been in place and used, for many years. The only difference is that they are being used by greater numbers and a wider type of family, than previously. We are seeing a type of poverty that existed at the turn of the 19th Century, which is what seems to have been in the plan when designing the changes to the benefit system.

I am on my way to work, so will not be staying on the thread. As many will know, I am a SW. My LA and the neighbouring one's have always used food/essential vouchers, rather than cash. There is also a “crisis“ fund for families. Education Welfare officers have access to school uniforms for some circumstances. If you have uniform spare, approach them, as they will keep a stock of second hand items. These measures have always been in place and used, for many years. The only difference is that they are being used by greater numbers and a wider type of family, than previously. We are seeing a type of poverty that existed at the turn of the 19th Century, which is what seems to have been in the plan when designing the changes to the benefit system.

SecretLindtBunny Wed 27-Mar-13 11:32:55

Kansas- and what if you like out in the sticks because that is all you can afford for housing with an infrequent and expensive bus service and your money hasn't gone in to your account to pay bus fare to get to the supermarkets to use the food vouchers? No family support, friends in exactly the same situation?

ParsingFancy Wed 27-Mar-13 11:34:51

If you're living on £1 per person per day for food, as people describe on another thread, it would take weeks or even months to save enough on food to pay for an emergency plumber or new cooker - both things on bochead's list.

bochead Wed 27-Mar-13 11:35:24

What about flood victims?

More and more people in the UK are victims in this respect every year and not just food is needed to help them in the very short term. Crisis loans were often used for everything from fares to get to a relatives house with the kids for a few nights to help with pumps and sewage clean up.

When a flood hits a town, it impacts all income groups. Crime because someone is desperate for a camping stove is not going to help.

Coeliacs only get help with food on prescription in some areas, not in others depending on the whim of their local NHS trust. They are also not the only group that need special diets. Food vouchers are going to be fook all use to many if they can only be used in certain shops - the ost of admin mean these are unlikely to be independent stores and markets, farm shops et.

Xenia Wed 27-Mar-13 11:38:48

Sounds like a good plan.
On rickets being outside in the summer in sun without subscreen is what you need for that so walking a few miles to the supermarket in your shorts and t shirt can be just the job for tackling rickets. It is those on play stations at home all day or in burkhas who get it, not necessarily a result or poverty at all.

Corygal Wed 27-Mar-13 11:39:43

And what is the justification for food stamps for people who've paid tax for 25 years and just lost their job?

ParsingFancy Wed 27-Mar-13 11:41:00

Quite right, Xenia, no rickets in Victorian Britain when there were no playstations, people walked to work and children played out doors all day.hmm

Twentytotwo Wed 27-Mar-13 11:42:08

Welcome to the Big Society. Where charities end up doing the work of government.

ZZZenAgain Wed 27-Mar-13 11:44:32

in Victorian England dc may well have been down mines, in factories and sweat shops all the daylight hours.

QueenBee245 Wed 27-Mar-13 11:58:33

As bochead said it will be the families who are stuck in situations who will suffer the most, I have applied for a loan previously to pay for a washing machine and fridge as I had moved from a hostel to a house, hopefully they last me now untill I am able to gain employment, but it is a worry for the future if only food stamps are available, the DWP doesn't class a fridge or a washing machine as a necessity so families would have to raise the money for these themselves.

Xenia Wed 27-Mar-13 12:26:03

Yes, as ZZZ said children in mines and inside or in factories did not get sun either. Rickets is not coming back because of low benefits. Benefits are enough to feed children. Children are not fed when adults manage their benefits badly. Giving in addition food vouchers is a good plan.

Kick them outside for the morning even if it is a 2 mile walk there and back to the super market to buy you a load of carrots and potatoes and turn off the play station. Make sure girls aren't covered up for modesty reasons. You can solve rickets that way. Turn off the play station. Sell the play station to buy food.

Sadly the last labour Government spent us into this crisis. if you want to blame anyone the blame lies with the spend spend spenders who have consigned a generation into poverty.

AThingInYourLife Wed 27-Mar-13 12:29:04

"Because I don't feel the need to curtail a vital safety net for everyone just to stop individuals being twats occasionally."

Me too, Parsing.

Any move to limit the power of the people facing the sharp end of these crises, the families involved and the officials dealing with them, is a retrograde step.

It's just pointless "red tape" that serves no useful function.

Well, other than convincing your spiteful (and stupid) supporters that you are tough on things.

Nancy66 Wed 27-Mar-13 12:36:53

the vouchers are to help people in a crisis - they're not a permanent way of handing out benefits.

I don't see the issue in insisting that the money is not pissed up the wall.

Also who decides on what is deemed an essential and what isn't? A blanket ban on cigs, alcohol and gambling... Ok that's easy to enforce. But there are also little things which may be up to the checkout operator to decide which are or are not essential. You may end up getting into an argument about whether a box of tampons/plasters is "allowed" or not. You may be told that the newspaper that you are buying so you can look for jobs is classed as entertainment.

I've had this with healthy start vouchers. I was told I wasn't allowed spinach because it was neither a fruit or vegetable, it was a leaf! [Hmm]

noddyholder Wed 27-Mar-13 14:12:53

This is a trial run wait and see I can just hear Cameron and co bleating about how well it has worked and how they will now roll it out across the board as it has been such a success.

ParsingFancy Wed 27-Mar-13 14:20:42

Yep, I've paid for someone else's shopping in the supermarket because the staff were giving them voucher hassle. That was when vouchers were being used for refugees - the checkout woman was using the traditional method of shouting louder and louder at the poor bloke with little English. I reckoned by the time the supermarket had kept the change (about half the voucher) and admin was accounted for, it was better value for me the taxpayer to pay straight from my pocket.

I actually wrote to my MP about it - and was told vouchers were being phased out because they were so hopeless.

Darkesteyes Wed 27-Mar-13 14:24:51
TheBigJessie Wed 27-Mar-13 14:27:27

My husband got told that healthy start vouchers were only for frozen vegetables. He was trying to buy apples at the time.

Darkesteyes Wed 27-Mar-13 14:32:09

Lindt bunny i did 13 weeks of workfare under New Deal in 2000. I worked in a charity shop for 4 weeks and local council for 8
After that i was told i would have to do ANOTHER 13 weeks in a soup factory for my JSA.
I mamaged to secure a job in a sex chatline office and signed off. It was night shifts but one day the workfare provider turned up at the office asking my boss all sorts of questions making a nuisance of themselves ttrying to lose me the job (because they got a tidy sum for everyone they sent on a "work placement") my boss saw through it. Told him to piss off.
So believe me workfare WAS going on under New Labour. It just wasnt as publicised.
No social media back then either and no journalists were interested back then.

We had to get an emergency loan to pay rent once because our HB had fucked up, wonder if these vouchers would pay that? Doubt it somehow

CloudsAndTrees Wed 27-Mar-13 14:49:14

But I admit I've used mine in the past to pay for Christmas presents.

Thank you for admitting that, it's nice to see some honesty about benefits for a change.

As long as we have a system where it is possible for people to obtain crisis loans to pay for Christmas presents, then there is something very very wrong with it. That cannot be allowed to happen with taxpayer money. It just can't. It is so fundamentally wrong I can't understand why anyone can't see how ridiculous the current system is.

If vouchers go some way to stopping people being able to spend crisis loans on Christmas presents, then they have to be a good thing.

Don't blame the likes of me who just don't want to see taxes wasted, blame people who have taken the piss out of the system and abused it to pay for things they can't afford and don't need.

CraftyBec Wed 27-Mar-13 14:50:44

I saw this article and it confirms what I heard 2 days ago - that our local food bank has been given a large grant in anticipation of the impact of welfare reform.

I know that people in crisis don't just need food and it makes me angry that the safety net of welfare is now being removed. The state is expecting charities to pick up the pieces. angry

I'm in a bit of a dilemma because I got my church involved in the local food bank (wanted us to do our bit alongside other churches), but I don't think people's charitable donations should replace the role of the state. We try our best but the quality and range of food in a parcel is limited. We can offer substitutions for vegetarian or halal diets but that's it. sad

CloudsAndTrees Wed 27-Mar-13 14:56:32

Charitable donations already replace the state in numerous situations unfortunately. There are plenty of things people need that are only available because of charities, I could think of loads. Off the top of my head - the charities such as whizz kids that have to provide wheelchairs for disabled children. Charities like them shouldn't need to exist, but they do. Food banks are just another in very long list.

noddyholder Wed 27-Mar-13 14:56:38

I would think it would be a crisis if on top of everything else you couldn't give your children some sort of xmas. People are so harsh I always think there but for the grace of god and some of you should stop and bloody think.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 27-Mar-13 14:58:22

We have different ideas of what the word crisis means then noddy.

Dawndonna Wed 27-Mar-13 15:00:45

Clouds you sound more pleasant and tolerant as the days go by. hmm.
A broken fridge could be a crisis, if for example there were a diabetic in the house. A broken cooker, whatever, as has been pointed out, it's not all about food.
As for the Christmas presents, kids on welfare not entitled?

wannabeEostregoddess Wed 27-Mar-13 15:01:00

The poor kids dont deserve a christmas, what with being poor and all that. They should be grateful the foodbank is there.


CloudsAndTrees Wed 27-Mar-13 15:09:14

No one is 'entitled' to Christmas presents. They are a luxury.

I appreciate that there are situations where money might be needed in a crisis and that vouchers for food and toiletries won't help, but it is not right that people can get crisis loans or grants for things that aren't a crisis.

A child not getting Christmas presents isn't a crisis. A cooker breaking down isn't a crisis. A cooker or a fridge are essentials, yes, but there are ways that society can provide the truly needy with things like that without handing over cash that can be used on anything.

If someone needs a cooker, give them a cooker! Just don't allow people to turn up and get given money by saying they need a cooker when what they really need is to go shopping for luxury presents.

TheRealFellatio Wed 27-Mar-13 15:21:15

You need vitamin D in order to be able to absorb the calcium in your your diet, so loads of calcium but no Vitamin D = rickets. Hence the prevalence of it among young covered Muslim girls in the UK now. And children who do not go out in the open air enough, or whose parents are a little too OTT with the sunblock.

But I would guess therefore that in Victorian times the children did not lack sunlight, they were just malnourished and lacked enough calcium for healthy bone formation in the first place.

Anyway, food vouchers for those members of society who live in a permanent state of vulnerability, chaos or dysfunction can only be a good thing. Especially for their children. Although I imagine some people will still try to sell them for a cash amount that's less than the face value of the voucher.

They are not for everyone on benefits or low incomes - they are for people who cannot be trusted to feed themselves or their children otherwise.

noddyholder Wed 27-Mar-13 15:28:03

Clouds and trees you just sound nasty nothing more or less. You really think no cooker isn't a crisis for a family. Mind you going on your past form I am not surprised. I do think it is a crisis when poor people or those who have hit an unexpected bad patch have to exclude their children from what other children are doing. So yes I would consider xmas as an inclusive family time and would hate to think whole sections of society could be excluded from that

ParsingFancy Wed 27-Mar-13 15:33:01

"They are not for everyone on benefits or low incomes - they are for people who cannot be trusted to feed themselves or their children otherwise."

Where on earth did you get that, Fellatio?

They are in place of crisis loans. And poster after poster here has listed the purposes for the loans: emergency plumber, new cooker, rent after HB or JobCentre has messed up. Even a loan for Christmas presents which was repaid like, you know, loans are.

How is that "people who cannot be trusted"?

mathanxiety Wed 27-Mar-13 15:34:11

CloudsandTrees, what part of the word LOAN do you not understand?

How different is this loan from 'buying' Christmas presents with a credit card?

mathanxiety Wed 27-Mar-13 15:39:47

The theory behind the loan system was that responsibility was encouraged.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 27-Mar-13 15:44:02

I don't think that not having a cooker is a crisis that can only be solved by giving money. I could be solved by giving a cooker instead. That way, problem of no cooker is solved, and the problem of people asking for loans for things they don't actually need would also be solved.

Everyone's a winner.

JakeBullet Wed 27-Mar-13 15:45:26

No cooker/fridge WOULD be a crisis for me tbh. I couldn't afford to buy a new one that's for sure. I bought my last one via my sister's catalogue after a request on Freecycle didn't produce anything. The only difference is I didn't borrow the money from the taxpayer.....I repay it from DS's maintenance...or from IS or from tax credit. ....whatever...so perhaps I AM using the taxpayer but know what? I couldn't give two hoots about the taxpayer....I WAS a taxpayer for 30 years and it didn't bother me that people who were down on their luck needed support. Likewise I have the same attitude now that I need the support. This is what the welfare system is there for.

JakeBullet Wed 27-Mar-13 15:48:10

Thanks clouds, I know where to go next time I am in need wink

mathanxiety Wed 27-Mar-13 15:51:49

What sort of timeframe are you assuming might be involved in securing a cooker? Would there be warehouses of cookers going a begging and someone could just rock up to the door and pick one out if the need arose?

Would there be a delivery service so no-one would have to have their children carry it home in their shorts and tshirts (and kill two birds with the one stone, prevent rickets and ensure a hot meal all at the same time, wow) or try to get it home on the bus?

Or would there be some sort of interview and fact finding operation followed by box checking and waiting to see if a cooker was available and if so when it could be secured and installed? And wouldn't all of this depress the trade in cookers and ensure that people actually trying to make a living selling them, delivering them and installing them would be run out of business by all this interference in the free markets?

Again, loans for things people don't actually need -- they are loans. Just as credit card 'purchases' are made using loans.

noddyholder Wed 27-Mar-13 16:18:57

exactly mathanxiety

ParsingFancy Wed 27-Mar-13 16:21:04

Yep, CraftyBec. Someone a few months back mentioned their local council's financial plan included food banks it didn't fund. They had actually written not-yet-given private charitable donations into their accounting.

"I don't think that not having a cooker is a crisis that can only be solved by giving money. I could be solved by giving a cooker instead."

Funnily enough I don't see the govt agreeing to that either.

So what about other emergency needs? Rent, bills, travel, etc.

TheRealFellatio Wed 27-Mar-13 16:26:53

Hang on - they are for food! How can they replace a crisis loan that might be for a cooker or a plumber's bill? Previously some people would have applied for crisis loans for food, so I am assuming if the problem is lack of food they'll be given food vouchers. i'm not sure why we are talking about cookers. confused

i'll have to read the article again. Either I missed something or you are trying to be all smoke and mirrors at me. grin

What does Hampshire Council mean by "reducing the entitlement culture?"

I'm more worried about the entitlement culture of businesses that make huge profits paying UK staff minimum wage or just above, meaning that their workers' wages have to be subsidised by benefits. Or the entitlement culture of the Coalition government who weren't even voted in.

Plus, being on benefits isn't a crime. It doesn't mean you're a bad person, or stupid, or lazy.

Fellatio It's this bit which is bringing up the talk of cookers

"Campaigners raise alarm as English councils replace cash loans with payment cards for people facing short-term financial crises"

It seems the food vouchers are replacing the crisis loans.

Ah, that doesn't make much sense! I can be a bit frothy-mouthed about things that bash poor people. I'm just grateful I don't need benefits at the moment.

TheRealFellatio Wed 27-Mar-13 16:39:56

But surely there must still be a way of giving them to cooker? confused not much used being given a bunch of vouchers for potatoes of you've got nothing to cook them on! I think we are getting slightly muddled over two separate issues here, but I stand by what I said - for very vulnerable, chaotic families I think food vouchers are a good idea. Not ideal, but better than the alternative.

NC78 Wed 27-Mar-13 16:41:58

The social fund is going in April that's why everyones talking about cookers.

AThingInYourLife Wed 27-Mar-13 16:45:22

"I don't think that not having a cooker is a crisis that can only be solved by giving money. I could be solved by giving a cooker instead. That way, problem of no cooker is solved, and the problem of people asking for loans for things they don't actually need would also be solved."

grin grin

Really and truly, a Stalinist who probably votes Tory.

You couldn't make it up grin

Do you get that the cooker is an example?

That there is not, and could never be, a definitive list of all possible emergencies?

(Not to mention a ready-made non-cash immediate solution to each one)

The point of a system like this is that it needs to be flexible.

Which means keeping it as far out of the hands of meddlesome busybodies, such as yourself, as possible.

The best people to decide whether or not there is an emergency is a combination of
A - the people asking for the loan
B - the people being asked for the loan.

This money is not a gift. So there is no need to get too worked up if some spoilt, lascivious poor people irresponsibly borrow money to give their unworthy brats the "luxury" of a present at Christmas.

Viviennemary Wed 27-Mar-13 16:51:21

I really can't see the problem with food stamps. At least it will ensure the children are getting food even if other bills aren't getting paid which is the important thing surely. Food should be a priority.

SecretLindtBunny Wed 27-Mar-13 16:52:52

What about a place to live?
What about means to eat? Means to stay warm?
What about means to get to job interviews/pick children from school if they are ill?

It isn't about merely existing.

mathanxiety Wed 27-Mar-13 17:01:18

Coming hard on the heels of the end of free legal aid unless a victim can prove abuse (meaning in effect that victims will need broken bones), all of this will have a horrible impact on people fleeing domestic abuse and of course on children.

There is more to abuse than broken bones, and victims often do need cookers and school uniforms and furniture (such as cots or playpens or high chairs). Unless it is envisaged that the police will accompany victims back to their residences so they can take things they need, or there are plans to give police power to throw out abusers and allow victims to remain in their homes and support them in making rent or mortgage payments and paying their bills instead -- highly unlikely.. I am not holding my breath waiting for the little details of assistance that discourages dependency in crises such as this to be worked out by officials who have probably never been in this sort of situation.

Domestic abuse has reverberations that society will eventually pay for, and pay dearly. Refusing to pay for all necessary support of victims and their children when crisis hits means deferring the bill until later. There is no money saved.

cantspel Wed 27-Mar-13 17:01:53

I think food stamps are a good idea.

There is a thread going on in chat at the moment asking has anyone helped someone else out with food in the last 6 months. Plenty have posted about helping out family and admit the reason why they need to help out is because their relative pisses their money up the wall or refuses to give up smoking

Dont believe me
well go and read and call them liars then

mathanxiety Wed 27-Mar-13 17:04:36

It really is Stalinism, AThing. 'To each according to his needs' (as decided by the government)

mathanxiety Wed 27-Mar-13 17:10:59

Vivienmary, the thing is, it won't ensure children get food. What it will ensure is a black market in vouchers, a sharp rise in loan sharking and consequent murders of loan sharks and examples made of victims, trafficking of children and use of children as collateral for loans.

Think this couldn't happen? This was par for the course in the city of Limerick about 50 years ago when an uncle of mine lived there and clubbed together with friends to set up credit unions to drive the loan sharks out of business. The sharks in questions tended to be relatively well off widows whose grown sons were the goons. Lots of little old ladies met a sticky end. Lots of children were victimised by the goons. A cousin of mine who is a priest saw the same problems on council estates in parishes he worked in.

carben Wed 27-Mar-13 17:12:32

For the last year or so Crisis Loans have only been available for living expenses ie food and gas and electricity. There was a whole range of situations in which they could be paid but could not be paid for bills, rent, items or services. Up to a year or so ago they could be considered for 'items' such as a cooker or a fridge but the government changed that at the same time as they reduced the daily amount that could be paid as a crisis loan. CL's end tomorrow as will Community Care Grants. Budget Loans will continue for a while until they get absorbed by Universal Credit. As far as I am award SSMG,s will continue as will Funeral Payments for a while anyway.

Dawndonna Wed 27-Mar-13 17:20:32

Cantspel I sincerely hope you don't mean for all benefits.

SlowlorisIncognito Wed 27-Mar-13 17:21:46

Everyone needs things other than food though- at a bare minimum in a crisis situation they might need new shoes or a new coat as well as heating and some kind of fuel for a hot meal in winter?

The problem is crisis loans were previously used to bridge the gap between people applying for benifits e.g. JSA when they lost a job and recieveing their first payment. From personal experience, this once took 10 weeks. Admitedly,I got a job after only three weeks, so did not chase it up at all, but I do not think this is especially unusual. People can't fill all their needs for say 6 weeks just with food stamps.

I am not completely against some goods being given in kind to some people some of the time. I think in some circumstances- for example giving extra help to those who are struggling, gifts of vouchers could be at times appropriate, but not completely replacing crisis loans with them.

However, my father volunteers in a centre for refugees and asylumn seerkers. In various circumstances these people are given a card similar to the one proposed which can buy food and other esentials. It can only be used in major high street stores- many of which are only found in the centre of the city or in large out of town stores- whilst the refugees may be housed elsewhere, and have to walk several miles with young children to use this card. I think we can all agree this is not ideal.

It is easy to say they should be given a bus pass, but this is not what is being proposed.

I think the fact that it is being implimented by local councils could cause problems as well with different provision in different areas.

mathanxiety Wed 27-Mar-13 17:26:52

The fractured nature of provision will cause all sorts of issues. Right off the top of my head, what about people who live in one county and have to abide by a certain set of rules with their voucher but their nearest supermarket is in another county that operates another set of rules. The issue of transport is huge.

cantspel Wed 27-Mar-13 17:30:43

Dawndonna No but as a top up instead of a crisis loan yes.

Dawndonna Wed 27-Mar-13 17:35:41

Cantspel, as has been pointed out there are other forms of crises, forms where a food voucher would be useless. Because some piss money up the wall, you do not have the right to deprive all.

Viviennemary Wed 27-Mar-13 17:38:43

I am in favour of Credit Unions mathanxiety. And I don't think they are promoted and supported nearly enough. But I don't think foodstamps are an entirely bad idea for families.

carben Wed 27-Mar-13 17:40:21

The Crisis Loan and Community Care Grant budget has been handed over to LA's, None of it is ring- fenced and Councils are free to do what they like with it. some may even decide not to have an emergency fund and plough it into other services. Some will be administered in house - others contacted out or handed over to charities. It's pic 'n' mix and the gov't can now absolve themselves of any responsibility and call it localism in action. They can then sanction people to their heart's content without having to pick up any of the pieces. I feel sorry for local authorities especially those already struggling financially because I am pretty sure they have no idea do the tsunami about to hit them.

I know someone who works for a Local Authority and their budget is totally ring fenced, it can only be used for Crisis Grants and Community Care Grants. It will be massively audited which you would expect, so they are unable to use it for anything else. The difference come 1st April is that the Crisis Grants and Community Care Grants don't need to be paid back. Crisis Grants will be issued for disasters and emergencies and Community Care Grants to help prevent applicants live in the local community, stop them going into care, families under pressure and prisoners coming back into the community for example.

carben Wed 27-Mar-13 17:54:28

As far as I am aware it is NOT ring fenced. See link below.


I wonder if it depends on the local authority? We're in Scotland, so not sure if it might be different rules or they have just decided to ring fence it. That's a good page to link to, thanks!

RubyGates Wed 27-Mar-13 18:01:34

Our local Credit Union went bust.

Too many people taking money out. Not enough putting money in.

CraftyBec Wed 27-Mar-13 21:14:06

I worked in the USA in a very poor neighbourhood, volunteering in a welfare rights office - food stamps often didn't last the month (especially if spent at local, more expensive shops), and when they ran out the people would rely on churches for food parcels. So food stamps are not the answer. That was at the beginning of the 1990s - very sad to see the same developments here in the UK now; just goes to sharpen the gap between rich and poor in society.

mam29 Wed 27-Mar-13 21:19:11

All this talk cookers reminds me of my 1st flat.

Emigrated from wales to england for last boyfreinds job.

I got job too but was low paid must have been 800-900 quid net a month.

But was just me

when we split we dident really have much to divvy up as rented a semi furnished flat.

stayed in area due to my job.
managed to get studio flat £350 a month
council tax and bills on top.
commuting costs of train as moved out the city to get cheaper rent.

I couldent afford much when moved in.

I brought 2nd hand fridge from a shop
only had a microwave even considered getting a camping hob as missed making pasta and microwave stuff was pricey.
got given an old washing machine.
Had blow up matress.

I was lucky mam loaned me some money

Over time I got few other bits and eventually brought oven from same place as got fridge .

These days we live in house but buy so much 2nd hand or current sofa was free, brought dining table £10 ebay.

Find buying cheap stuff not problem.

back to oven we have landlords old oven.
really want anew one but cant afford it

its transporting it and fitting in it need someone trained.

most people on benefits might not have transport.

Xmas is very hard most people ordered pressies on credit then got into further trouble.

Darkesteyes Wed 27-Mar-13 22:07:27
CraftyBec Wed 27-Mar-13 22:45:36

Yes, I've just spotted that article by Suzanne Moore too! She is right - some people will be struggling with severely lack of choice of food assistance while others ooh and ah over baking intricate cakes and artisan breads.

jaywall Wed 27-Mar-13 23:17:34

Brilliant idea.
Doesn't go nearly far enough but its a start.

usualsuspect Wed 27-Mar-13 23:21:32

Would you like to expand on that jaywall?

bochead Wed 27-Mar-13 23:32:06

If we look around us globally then the gated communities of South Africa and Brazil only give the illusion of security to a very select few. The underclass will simply ape the behaviors of their betters more and more, as time goes on. A poor youth will look at his opportunities and decide that if it's OK for the banks to rob a nation blind, then he can do the same. In the end the wholesale rush to abandon any compassion will do no one any favours.

There was a side to Victorian Britain that was extremely ugly and dark - child trafficking and prostitution was rife, violent crime levels were very high, the streets stank. For many life was short, harsh and brutal.

Our ancestors returning from the hell of WW1 fought hard to improve the living standards of the working man. It then took the horror of WW2 for us to realise the dream of a democratic, nation with opportunities based on merit and hard work, with a safety net for all of us if we fell victim to spousal abandonment, illness, disabling accident, unemployment etc, etc. The welfare state wasn't "given" to us, ordinary folk campaigned long and hard for it, and paid higher taxes to cover it. The ordinary person's tax bill is not being reduced - it's providing welfare payments to the bankers, who as yet show no signs of refunding their own "crisis loans".

Given the attitudes of some on this thread I'm just waiting to hear that the child labour laws have been repealed (after we'd save on air miles if we used British children rather than 3rd world ones, so much better for the environment), and that little women don't need the vote after all. Equal pay and so many other hard won rights are being eroded by the new welfare reforms. Loss of legal aid, and the reduction in funding for women fleeing violent men, coupled with the contempt shown towards the need to ensure adequate collection of child maintenance (charging the abandoned parent for the pathetic services provided by the CSA) is only the thin end of the wedge.

Food vouchers are one way of using up the unsold horse meat, one of the most recent corporate scams. For those who are feeling secure today, do remember that globalization means that gradually even the most skilled white collar jobs are being encroached upon by the phenomena known as outsourcing. If it isn't your scientific research job that evaporates into the ether, it will be that of your child.

What sort of legacy are we leaving them in our spite filled drive to demonise the poor? I'm seeing lots of initiatives aimed at restricting the choices of the poor, which may make those who are only 3 months mortgage payments from disaster themselves feel better in the short term. What I'm not seeing from the current administration is any sort of coherent plan to foster the ingenuity, creativity, & will to succeed that this country so badly needs to pull itself out of a financial black hole which the majority if it's citizens had no meaningful role in creating.

noddyholder Wed 27-Mar-13 23:40:19

Ah the charming jaywall returns to join the rest of the delightful new posters we have had in march.

AudrinaAdare Wed 27-Mar-13 23:41:57

Bloody hell bochead, that is the best post on this subject that I have ever read.

Darkesteyes Thu 28-Mar-13 00:10:09

I agree bochead. Excellent post. Youve just reminded me of something. Last Saturday we had a family do for my DNs 18th. She loves crime thrillers and mysteries so i bought her some books on the subject (along with a Dirty Works gift set)
On the same afternoon we watched a DVD of mine at my parents that she had been dying to watch for ages but because it was an 18 her dad made her wait.
It was From Hell the Hughes Brothers version of the events surrounding the Whitechapel murders in 1888. (it has Johnny Depp and Robbie Coltrane in it)
One of the items found on the bodies in the film (cant remember if it was accurate of the real events) was the stalks found from a bunch of grapes.
Coltranes line in the film is "Grapes why grapes. How on earth can a bangtail afford grapes?
My local Sainsburys are charging £4.98 for a bunch of grapes now in 2013. I cant afford them and even if i could i wouldnt buy them on principle.
Rewatching the film i felt its poignancy with now not just because of the women that were brutalized and murdered but because of the fact that the grapes incident in the film seems to reflect that many poor people still cant afford to buy things like that.
One of the books i bought my niece was
Underworld London. Crime and Punishment in the Capital City. it charts the history of crime in London and the desperation behind it from Elizabethan times up until the 1960s. I had a flick through it while DN was eating her bitrhday cake. Some of the people featured were violent criminals yes, but the desperation was heartbreaking.
I remember studying the Poor Law at high school. They really do want to take us back there.

Underworld London


Clouds You really are lovely you know that? hmm

Just so you (and all your other friends on here) know, I had a couple of crisis loans when I was working and paying tax. Shocker.

I take it people will no longer have to pay these back? How can they dictate what you spend it on if you have to pay it back?

AudrinaAdare Thu 28-Mar-13 01:08:44

I had a crisis LOAN when on income support and failing to sell my house which went on the market the day after the World Trade Centre Bombings.

My boiler broke, but because I owned the house (wasn't even getting the mortgage interest paid because it was nine months from becoming unemployed before getting help then) I couldn't afford to get it fixed.

It was February, minus zero and I had an active older baby DD who regularly climbed out of her cot. I was told to turn on the oven at night with the door open, put her cot in front of it in the tiny kitchen downstairs and leave her to it.

I went to the offices to beg for help and was told by a few veterans that I should lie and say that my purse was stolen or that DD had put all my cash in the washing machine or I would not be given a loan. From the social fund, which my N.I contributions over the years had paid into.

The utter contempt that everyone there that day was treated with will stay with me always. They closed the shutters, laughed and joked while eating cake and made loud bets on how late they could issue the emergency giros before the post office four flights down would shut and how fast we would all have to be.

I am a qualified teacher and had worked for many years . My DD was born with serious health issues. These things can happen to anyone.

Darkesteyes Thu 28-Mar-13 01:31:19

Audrina thats horric treatment Disgusting.angry

bochead Thu 28-Mar-13 01:54:02

Audrina - sadly many don't believe how dehumanising the whole "benefits" experience is until they experience it for themselves.

My ideas (bearing in mind I'm a Mum not an economist) for what SHOULD have been in the budget.

1. A total amnesty on NI and other employment taxation for small businesses under £250K per year gross profit in the 2011-12 tax year on any new staff they manage to employ over the next 5 years.

2. VAT exemption for derelict housing brought back into use over the next 5 years. (must have been previously unoccupied for at least 2 years)

3. For the under 35's - the right to live rent free for 10 years in any derelict local authority housing providing they can bring up to the previous governments decent homes standard within 3 years of signing the tenancy agreement. (Young adults would learn marketable skills as well as gaining a secure home.)

4. A VAT reduction on British made products to 10%.

5. A guarantee that full benefits will be retained for a full 2 years from the initiation of a business start up by those with disabilities, lone parents, etc. This would make it possible for many to turn a pipe dream into a reality.

6. Guaranteed harsh and punative penalties for those who do not pay child maintenance - name and shame in local press. A "Dead beat parent" propoganda campaign (hey if the gov can run one to malign the disabled they can tackle hearts and minds on this!) including requiring non-payers to sell their homes, cars, give up their passports, etc etc. If we can send resident parents to prison for non-school attendance we can tackle this enduring cause of child poverty.

7. There is no reason amazon, starbucks et all shouldn't pay the same UK taxes as their totally UK based competitors on profits obtained from UK customers so an immediate closing of that loop hole.

8. A complete moratorium on bonuses at those financial institutions who borrowed from the taxpayer until those funds are returned to the public purse.

9. A lifting of all the nonsensical redtape that prevents projects like "the incredible edible Todmorden" being replicated all over the UK for the benefit of ordinary communities.

10. A micro-loan scheme for small business start ups such as that seen in the 3rd world.

11. Stopping the obvious daftness of some benefits such as winter fuel payment and child tax credit payments etc being paid to individuals who reside permanently overseas. Scottish pensioners could use the money to stay alive in some cases.

12. Some sort of ID system for the NHS requiring proof of residence in the UK for those parts which are falling apart at the seams in our major cities due to demand such as maternity units. (I'm sick of seeing people flying in to gve birth from overseas cos we give them free treatment when British women are being told their is no room at the inn at their local hospital)

13. An abrupt end to the nonsense whereby taxpayers funds given to the banks for the express purpose of residential mortgage lending and business loans are not released to the public for the purpose they were intended. Hoarding these funds is just wrong.

The above are just ideas, none of them perfect but perhaps a step in the right direction for discussion?

wannabeEostregoddess Thu 28-Mar-13 08:00:18

Audrina that is terrible but I am not surprised.

When I was pregnant with DD1 I was "managed out" by my line manager who was a cow. At 24 weeks pregnant I had left my job from the stress of her behaviour and in the process had to move to a cheaper house and apply for benefits. They were taking so long that I had to apply for a crisis loan. Having worked since I was in school the JC was a shock to the system.

I said to the lady "I need to apply for a crisis loan."

She looked me up and down and sarkily replied "Whats the crisis?" Obviously I was too well dressed to be in crisis or something. I sat there until 4pm (from 12) because they "forgot" about me when all the payments were being issued. hmm

AudrinaAdare Thu 28-Mar-13 08:30:49

Interesting ideas there smile My experience was over ten years ago and not uncommon it seems
Mind you my friend rang about a crisis loan last year and was told to ask the father of her children for food and nappies. Her DP died.

Xenia Thu 28-Mar-13 12:18:10

I certainly agree with bochead about being careful to ensure women don't lose the vote. Every woman who moves for a man's career or who lives on male earnings or works part or flexi time moves that day closer. Go out there. Out earn men and never ever give up full time work to have babies or you will lose the gains we have achieved.

wannabeEostregoddess Thu 28-Mar-13 12:22:47

Yes because women losing the vote was the worst thing in Bocheads post.


Xenia Thu 28-Mar-13 13:18:08

(Certainly it is relevant - women who work hard at school, get good qualifications, pick good careers, never give up work even if babies come along, who lean in and don't play second fiddle to men and who have non sexist relationships at home and only do their fair share of housework tend not to be the ones needing food stamps. - Something to try to ensure the next generation is better at - women putting careers first and men second and thus avoid the risks of living on male earnings).

scott2609 Thu 28-Mar-13 14:56:15

Since nobody else has said it...

People will still be able to apply for budgeting loans, which can be used for things such as clothes, travel costs, and furniture, amongst other things.


scott2609 Thu 28-Mar-13 14:56:34
starfishmummy Thu 28-Mar-13 15:04:08

There are families where an addicted and often abusive partner takes all of the benefit money leaving the family with no money for food. The partner frequently has to resort to handouts from food banks. I am sure that in these circumstances having food vouchers would not be any more demeaning.

mathanxiety Thu 28-Mar-13 15:37:27

Nothing to stop an unscrupulous person from taking the voucher and flogging it. The same children who are in danger of hunger now will still be in danger when vouchers come into force.

mathanxiety Thu 28-Mar-13 15:46:24

'6. Guaranteed harsh and punative penalties for those who do not pay child maintenance - name and shame in local press. A "Dead beat parent" propaganda campaign (hey if the gov can run one to malign the disabled they can tackle hearts and minds on this!) including requiring non-payers to sell their homes, cars, give up their passports, etc etc. If we can send resident parents to prison for non-school attendance we can tackle this enduring cause of child poverty.'

This ^^
Too often people shrug or believe there is something unavoidable about poverty in households including children that are headed by women, something inherent about women heading a household that makes poverty a given.

Paying women equal pay for equal work wouldn't go amiss either. Adequately assessing work/pay that tends to be done overwhelmingly by women or by men.

And the country has to choose to either make reliable and affordable childcare available or encourage employers to offer a lot more jobsharing or part time work during school hours, or change school hours and calendar to 12 hour days and all year school/camp in the same building. The current calendar is based on an outdated assumption of free childcare available all year round for children outside of school hours.

Xenia Thu 28-Mar-13 16:32:00

Indeed. I am a single mother of five subsisting on my own and we manage okay. It is certainly possible.

Have you ever been poor in your life xenia? Had a day where there was literally nothing in the cupboards to feed your kids even though you'd done the best you possibly could?

I'm just curious.

HortyGal Thu 28-Mar-13 17:14:28
Goodtalkingtoo Thu 28-Mar-13 17:42:49

This is so sad, many of the people who require this kind of help are those who have been made unemployed but are waiting for their benefits, or people who have became I'll or disabled. This is an appalling way to treat people in Britain in need of help. This is nothing more than shaming people who are already at their lowest. Can you imagine losing your job (bad enough), applying for benefits (bad enough) using up all you available cash, food while you wait to be handed a card that you have to take to your local shop to get food. How on earth is this going to boost anyone confidence.
As for alcoholics etc they will either sell them on, turn to crime. People need help not to be degraded further. Kids are going to get bullied, adults are going to reach breaking point. So sad.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 28-Mar-13 20:18:21


From what you have said before your ex provided the majority of the care for your children when you were not funding care for them some of whom are now adults. You have also implied many times that you were not nor have you ever been a typical single parent. Being a equal co parent is very different to being a single parent the majority of the time.

Xenia Thu 28-Mar-13 21:37:52

(Not so. We both worked full time when married. We both paid half the cost of a full time daily nanny. After the divorce I paid for 100% of everything. I had the children 100% of the time . I worked full time. I was as single a single parent as it is possible to be with the addition of paying out to the non involved ex! However I certainly earn more than most single mothers).

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 28-Mar-13 22:23:31

My apologies I must be mixing you up with another poster.

Xenia Fri 29-Mar-13 10:59:08

No problem. I do think it is worth other single mothers knowing that you can be a single mother of 5 with no support from an ex and indeed be paying out to your ex and be able to fund 5 sets of school fees, a mortgage, work full time and have a lovely life. It is good to see that if women pick high paid careers and work hard some of them even if they are supporting themselves and their children can do very well indeed. Certainly three are now adults and of course that is much easier - although even now I have part of a wedding to fund and have just helped fund the deposit for another on their first flat they bought etc.. It does not quite stop once they turn 18 in terms of costs... yet another reason for teenage girls to pick careers they know will be high paid if they possibly can and try to get the best A level results they possibly can.

Anyway on food stamps it may help and some places already have them. At least you know what the money is going on - food. I certainly would prefer it to go on totally unprocessed foods like sardines, spinach, potatoes and not on fizzy drinks and processed junk.

float62 Fri 29-Mar-13 14:07:42

I've seen and had first hand experience of the food stamp system in the US and I would say that it definitely worked in the small northern Californian town I lived in in the early 1990s. Welfare recipients had the option of converting some of their cash payment into food stamps of a greater dollar value than the cash amount. These came in different denominations and were freely accepted in both the local markets with little stigma attached to them. If it was rolled out here in a similar way I would be supportive of it. However, I could see problems associated with stigma happening here when a recipient lives in a wealthy area and food stamps were hardly used, but in an area of high unemployment, it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

I don't understand why people get so hot under the collar about crisis loans being abused.

Its a loan. Every penny is repaid within 12 months, straight from benefit payments before they reach the claimant. This means they end up with less benefit every week, from what are already pitifully low levels.

I couldn't give a monkeys if people spend them on fags and booze - they will pay every single penny back and quite frankly its a miserable enough life being permanently piss poor (been there myself) so who am I to begrudge someone a few days holiday from being skint. Getting a crisis loan is such a ball ache these days that I can't imagine many people are applying for spurious reasons anyway.

Darkesteyes Fri 29-Mar-13 23:13:10
AudrinaAdare Sat 30-Mar-13 00:21:14

Isn't Asda the British subsidiary of U.S giant Walmart?

Well we know much Dave and IDS admire the American welfare / healthcare "system" hmm so it doesn't surprise me.

Lighthousekeeping Sat 30-Mar-13 00:32:56

I was just thinking that too. It's the American model. It's depressing.

sashh Sat 30-Mar-13 02:48:48

Another nudge towards me voting YES to an independent Scotland just to get away from the Tory scum

Please don't. If Scotland goes independent then England will be stuck with Tory government after Tory government.

mathanxiety Sat 30-Mar-13 03:07:33

Having the cards linked to only a certain shop is a marked departure from the US food stamps. In the US you can use your card anywhere that accepts it in the state you are in. SNAP cards are widely accepted, even in convenience places like gas stations.

(And when it is swiped those items amongst your order that are not covered by the card remain on the tab and you are asked to cover the bill for them separately -- there is no cashier going through your groceries and questioning things with you arguing that your card does so cover X or Y or Z).

Privatising welfare is a step even the US hasn't taken.

Tortington Sat 30-Mar-13 03:09:31

There is no reason to the ideology - hear me out.

In october, direct payment of benefits is going to come into force. This means that universal credit will be paid directly to benefit claimants on a monthly basis. they will be expected to budget their money from weekly /fortnightly to monthly.

there will be no option to pay rent directly to council/housing associations as there is now, benefot claimants will recieve the rent allowance directly.

The Tories have stated this is becuase benefit claimants should behave the way the rest of society behaves, be paid monthly, like most salaries are - and budget.


we have this system. Which is taking this control from benefit claimants.

CloudsandTrees stated earlier to give a cooker instead of money for a cooker.

this is a good example.

What is the ideology? Well I think you must ask yourself who will benefit.

I think it no coincidence that Farrage stated that if he got in power he would introduce a benefits system that would prevent spending on fags and booze.

So, this appeases the working class tories who believe all the skiver V Striver bullshit spin

But there is a financial benefit for rich people - I'm not sure what it is, but i think there will be a link between rich people who own business who happen to be close friends with people in power.

Much like many of those who benefit from the workfare scheme.

Oh BTW - Homebase had 21 workfare people in one store ...in ONE store. no wonder there are no fucking jobs.

Crisis loans now my friends.

Will be the benefits system later.

mathanxiety Sat 30-Mar-13 03:14:34

I don't see how there could possibly be problems preventing people from buying proscribed items with their cards. The cards that are issued by states in the US do that. If you include paper towels or tampons or shampoo or a bottle of wine in your trolleyfull those items are flagged when the card is swiped and the total due for them remains on the screen with cash/debit or credit or cheque payment required to clear the bill. The technology exists.

And again -- transport to the nearest ASDA may well be a huge problem for people.

This is so poorly thought out it boggles the mind.

mathanxiety Sat 30-Mar-13 03:24:37

And when it comes to 'white goods' -- which are apparently to be distributed by Birmingham council directly -- does this mean some supplier of rock bottom cheaptastic white goods will make a fortune supplying rubbish that wouldn't ever sell to paying customers? Or cheaply reconditioned second-hand, banged up, unreliable and possibly unsafe appliances that have been worked on by workfare slaves?

sashh Sat 30-Mar-13 03:54:39

I don't have a problem with a system that ensures money given for emergency support can only be used on emergency support.

But if the 'emergency' is that you have run out of electricity, or in my case I needed to get to my job, but wouldn't be paid for a month the vouchers are useless.

Had I been given a food voucher or card my only option would be to sell it for cash so I could get to work, and I would have to sell it for below value because that is the only way someone would buy it.

Xenia Sat 30-Mar-13 08:11:55

As someone said above budgeting loans will still be available.

Secondly state benefits without loans or food stamps are enough to house you and buy food. However huge numbers of people have multiple problems, addictions, violent partners etc etc (look at that family where there was the fire and 6 of the 11 children burned to death - the father who lived with wife and mistress or had done he had both women's benefits paid to him) and it is in those cases where parents sometimes do not manage to feed their children. That is where vouchers for food may be worthwhile. It may even be better if the children were given a breakfast and kept at school doing homework until 6 and a dinner of sorts at school at 5.30 - perhaps that is preferable - if you have children and are not coping for food then the child is fully fed during the week at least at school.

RubyGates Sat 30-Mar-13 16:36:16

The only thing that I can find to object to about this is the fact that they are restricted to Asda.

But I"m sure I'll find something to be outraged about soon.

RubyGates Sat 30-Mar-13 16:55:12
higgle Sat 30-Mar-13 17:17:29

The poor are not stupid! Those of them that want alcohol and not food will simply swap their purchases for drink, thus negating the whole ( stupid) point of the exercise.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Thu 18-Apr-13 03:23:12

This is such a good idea. [sarcasm emoticon].

Bus fares to school. Water bill. New school shoes as child outgrown old ones. School trip. School uniform. Outgrown clothes. New winter coat. Wellies. OTC medicines that are essential yet not provided on prescription by your PCT (which is more wide ranging than you might think in some PCT's - mine won't prescribe calpol, nit lotions, hydrocortisone cream for excema, dip sticks to test for ketosis in diabetics, asthma spacers, cocodamol unless it is at a higher strength than 8/50, and many many more...).

None of these will be covered by these food stamp schemes.

And that PC and Internet connection that people should use? Not covered either. And if you are living where I am, bus fare to the nearest library or Internet cafe is £3.70 for an adult, and £2.50 for each child over 5 years old.

So quite how they will PAY to get to these PC's to use them is beyond me.

And what about bills etc too? If you are tied into contracts etc on your phone, and you don't pay, they can get bailiffs to come and take what little you DO own.

And can I just point out to you that the MAJORITY of loans from the Social fund are taken out because when you claim IS / JSA / ESA, it will take a MINIMUM of 6 weeks before you get a decision and first payment of that benefit.

Once I made a claim as my (working) Ex partner left me. It took 11 weeks for a decision to be made and payments to start.

There is just NO WAY that, for starters, you can pay THE BEDROOM TAX AND YOUR COUNCIL TAX TOP UP from food stamps alone for weeks on end...

Now, lets see - non-payment of the 'bedroom tax' actually means that you are not paying a percentage if your RENT. So you can be (and probably would be if it was 3 months worth) evicted.

Aaaannnnd...If you don't pay your Council Tax top up, you can actually be imprisoned.

Nice way to demonise the poorest in Society. hmm

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Thu 18-Apr-13 03:25:43

I'll be honest - as a disabled Lone Parent with 4 DC's, I'm stockpiling vitamin D tablets bought from Home Bargains to prevent rickets in my DC's.

I have no guarantees. I'm also stockpiling Vitamin C tablets too.

Worries me that DS3 can't have either as they both contain lactose though. He's severely dairy allergic and his good costs a bloody arm and a leg.

bettycocker Thu 18-Apr-13 07:20:54

What if people need emergency help for their gas and electricity? Should they sit there in the dark, take a cold shower and freeze in a cold house or flat.

I don't use this word very often, but what's happening in the UK is evil.

jennywren45 Thu 18-Apr-13 07:40:53

I think it's a good plan. It actually protects the most vulnerable - children , by ensuring they get food rather than their parents get fags .

As for the thought that Labour are going to romp home next election - how amusing! Do you really not know how much more popular Welfare Reform is making the Tories? Most people want this!

CouthyMow, Aldi's multivitamins are dairy free (and cheap) if that helps your DS.

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 18-Apr-13 08:07:26

In theory it sounds like a good idea but in practise it will be a shambles.

Addicts in my home town shoplift meat and sell it on at knock off prices so they will just do the same with vouchers.

I can see a massive increase in prostitution if your benefits have been messed up and you can't pay your rent well people will be desperate.

I am glad I don't work in retail any more shoplifting will increase with addicts becoming agressive when they can't get what they want on vouchers.

jennywren45 Thu 18-Apr-13 09:05:57

Lovely picture some of you are painting of all these decent poor people who are so decent they will all turn to crime and prostitution if they have to buy carrots instead of fags hmm

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 18-Apr-13 09:18:57

jennywren decent people won't turn to theft or prostitution but addicts or the those living chaotic lives possibly will,

Ehhn Thu 18-Apr-13 09:39:52

My good friend is a head teacher at a pupil referral unit and has had endless, heart-rending stories about seriously psychologically damaged kids who have their toes sticking out of their too small or worn out shoes, don't get fed except at school, endless cases of untreated headlice and on and on and on....

Seems to me, stamps should be issued to parents who have been arrested or charged for drug/alcohol related offences or have been subject to a social services investigation (until cleared/declared no longer a risk) That way, it doesn't punish the majority who are genuinely good and caring parents but are going through a tough financial time yet protects the most vulnerable kids in society.

Darkesteyes Thu 18-Apr-13 14:01:41

Loving the mysogyny of saying that prostitutes arent decent.

"Decent" people who have a choice to go into this OR feed their children are not going to let their children starve.

Sunnywithshowers Thu 18-Apr-13 14:39:19

Wannabestepfordwife decent people might turn to theft and prostitution if they're desperate enough. Funnily enough, addicts often start off as 'decent' people.

Fargo86 Thu 18-Apr-13 14:41:36

I think they are a good idea. I see so many feckless parents spending their money on scratchcards and fags, while feeding their children rubbish.

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 18-Apr-13 21:21:00

sunny I know most addicts do start off as decent people I've seen first hand people's personality and morals being destroyed.

darkeyes I worded my last post really badly I've known one prostitute and she was the most amazing kind hearted person.

What I was trying to say is that people who you would never think would steal or go in to prostitution may be so desperate they feel pushed into doing things they never thought they would

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 18-Apr-13 21:21:23


Darkesteyes Thu 18-Apr-13 21:42:36

Sorry Wanna .

Wannabestepfordwife Thu 18-Apr-13 21:53:46

You've got nothing to be sorry for darkeyes I'm on a right combo of meds so I'm not very articulate at the minute

stubbornstains Thu 18-Apr-13 21:56:53

Well, for sure crime levels will rise as people get more desperate.

Which will give the Tories yet more opportunity to malign the "underclass".

Aaaaargh. angry

Skinnywhippet Thu 18-Apr-13 22:35:53

Bring back workhouses! (Slightly joking) At least people had the fear and didn't take the help they are given today for granted. Yes, it might not be in the format people want, nevertheless, it is still help for when you are needy and that is better that nothing. We have come a long way in 100 years.

Sunnywithshowers Thu 18-Apr-13 23:08:25

Thanks Wanna what you've said makes sense.

grumpyinthemorning Fri 19-Apr-13 00:06:22

Only a matter of time before it's extended to the whole welfare system. It pisses me off tbh, I pay all my rent and bills on time, and first priority when my payments arrive is groceries. But if I had a crisis, not only would I have to deal with that shit, I wouldn't even be able to buy a cheap bottle of wine or a pack of ten cigarettes to make myself feel better. Hardly good for mental health now, is it?

Alcoholics\addicts will find a way around it. It's a stunt that will hurt more than it helps.

manicinsomniac Fri 19-Apr-13 00:27:14

I think people should have to prove that they can't be trusted rather than try to prove that they can.

I would have no problem with people who are known to be in crisis with addictions or impulsive spending etc being issued with these stamps in place of emergency loans (not in place of their benefits - I think that's going too far for anybody, even people who are known to struggle managing money).

On the plus side though, this new system presumably means that the crisis loans are no longer loans and don't have to be paid back - that must surely be a huge relief for some?

SquirrelNuts Fri 19-Apr-13 00:40:27

I dont agree with them, i completly understand the idea behind them for alcoholics and drug addicts, but for the vast majority of people who are not stupid with there money its just horrible!
If im ever in the unfortunate situation to need food stamps i would feel totally humiliated having to use them

cory Fri 19-Apr-13 01:01:08

nywren45 Thu 18-Apr-13 07:40:53
"I think it's a good plan. It actually protects the most vulnerable - children , by ensuring they get food rather than their parents get fags ."

How are you protecting children by making sure the money provided cannot be used for heating the house they sleep in, providing them with light and hot water, sanitary protection for a 12yo, getting to the hospital with a 3yo with a broken arm or suspected appendicitis (don't imagine the hospital will provide transport)?

blackcurrantjan Fri 19-Apr-13 01:50:32

In the Philpott case it was because of the benefit system that Lisa Willis was able to escape. I know her money was paid into his account but she was able to flee with her children and get the support she needed, she obviously set up her own account because he was not able to access her money once she had left, which the job and benefit centres help people to do. Because of benefits she was able to look after her children on her own, probably would have recieved income support and rent allowance, I know she worked as well but would have probably given this up because Mick Philpott would find her there. The same option was available to Máiréad Philpott but she obviously wasn't strong enough to leave, I imagine she probably recieved worse abuse after Lisa Willis left, considering MP was so angry he risked his childrens lives trying to frame her and Mairead was the nearest punchbag. Without the safety net of the benefits system would Lisa Willis have left or would both women have been even more dependant on Mick Philpott. I really do not understand why people constantly cite the Philpott case as an argument for benefit reform. Surly it is argument for the welfare state; that women in the situations are able to leave and not have to worry about finaces, especially if there are children involved and the women are unable to work

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