UK govt seeks to stop foodbanks getting assistance from the EU

(44 Posts)
edam Tue 11-Jun-13 13:40:24

The Tories really are despicable sometimes, aren't they? Admittedly this is from the Labour party's MEPs but the essential fact is Tory govt. is planning to stop UK foodbanks getting EU funding.

As if it's not bad enough that one of the richest countries in the world - us - has people so desperate they are relying on food banks to survive...

'Cameron's Crumbs' Leaving UK Foodbanks Starving say Labour MEPs

A crucial European Parliament vote tomorrow (Wednesday 12 June) aimed at providing a massive cash boost for the UK's starving foodbanks is threatened with a UK Conservative veto, Labour MEPs have warned.

The £2 billion EU fund to tackle food deprivation is targeted at easing the burden on foodbanks and charities across the UK and Europe, currently stretched to breaking point in their work supplying food aid and basic material assistance.

Labour Spokesperson Richard Howitt MEP pledged the party's MEPs will vote in favour of a plea to back the fund from UK's FareShare, who supply food to 900 organisations including homelessness and domestic violence shelters, the Salvation Army as well as a network of foodbanks.

Labour is accusing Conservatives of hypocrisy by saying they oppose the aid by saying national governments not Europe should provide the aid, despite having no intention to do so in Britain.

Richard Howitt MEP says the reality is that if unused in the UK, this cash may be re-distributed to other EU States in a "use it or lose it" arrangement.

The vote comes as half a million people in the UK are relying on emergency food aid to fend off starvation, and over a third of those are children. Three new foodbanks are opening every week in the UK.

Speaking in the parliamentary debate in advance of the vote, Labour's Richard Howitt MEP said:

"The organisation responsible for giving 40,000 people emergency food supplies a day across Britain is desperate for this EU help to boost their efforts, yet David Cameron is intent on denying them even crumbs off the table.

"The Tories have said that the UK will not draw cash from this fund for purely ideological reasons, but in doing so they are playing politics with people's pantries.

"If all the major brands and retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda can commit to FareShare to ensure good food isn't wasted, the British Government must not waste this opportunity to do so too.

"Today Labour MEPs are saying the Government must put ideology aside and use this fund to feed the most hungry and deprived in our society."

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 11-Jun-13 13:50:44

Do you have a link OP?

edam Tue 11-Jun-13 13:58:13

I got a press release, hasn't happened yet - vote tomorrow. Clearly the Tories have instructed their guys to vote against. It's The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, vote in the European Parliament on Wednesday 12 June at approximately 12.30pm CET (11.30am UK-time).

PatPig Tue 11-Jun-13 23:46:54

Isn't the Eu responsible for a lot of food poverty through the Common Agricultural Policy.

Am very dubious about the facts of this.

cory Wed 12-Jun-13 10:43:20

The problem here is hardly the kind of food poverty caused by an agricultural policy, is it, PatPig?

scaevola Wed 12-Jun-13 10:56:50

There are several links on google to Labour stating the Tory position, but none that I could find stating a Tory position.

Does anyone know what the Tories are saying on this?

claig Wed 12-Jun-13 12:10:24

scaevola, I think it is all about subsidiarity.

BY EU law, I think national governments should have responsibility unless it is for an issue that can only be done at EU level.

Maybe this is a matter of precedent, and maybe it is about not eroding the principle of subsidiarity which could lead to more power to a centralised EU body over local national bodies.

ParsingFancy Wed 12-Jun-13 12:21:18
ParsingFancy Wed 12-Jun-13 12:24:17

So this is happening today? Will we get reporting on what has actually happened, rather than press releases?

claig Wed 12-Jun-13 13:22:38
edam Wed 12-Jun-13 21:37:24

"A majority of MEPs voted in favour of making participation in the Fund mandatory. This means that if a member state decides not to make use of the fund, the budget should remain available for the most deprived citizens. However, a large minority MEPs argued that member states' participation should be voluntary."

From Claig's link. Also says there's a delay for negotiations. So far it looks as if Tory MEPs haven't managed to exempt the UK, which is good. Not entirely clear whether that means the money will be available to UK food banks to draw on, though.

flatpackhamster Thu 13-Jun-13 14:59:38

Edam, I think it's particularly lazy of you to attempt to smear this on 'Evul Torays'. Claig is absolutely correct. Since when was it the job of the EU to take taxpayers' money and dole it out to the poor, and since when were they better placed to decide who needs the money and to do it than elected national governments?

I know that Labour worked hard during their tenure to eradicate any and all elements of democratic representation in the UK but there are still a few people who hold sovereignty and liberty dear.

NiceTabard Thu 13-Jun-13 20:27:18

I simply don't understand what the possible motivation would be to block this.

Well unless it's some kind of "punishment" for poor people. Which, knowing the tories, is more than possible.

scaevola Thu 13-Jun-13 20:33:38

If you look at the measures, it's not lust food banks. It's a found to ease deprivation in Eurpoe, and it's by now means clear whether any Britons would actually qualify at present.

Which size budget was voted through - I think the proposals were for either €2.5bil or €3.5bil.

scaevola Thu 13-Jun-13 20:34:31

Much as I am intrigued by "lust food banks", I meant to type 'just'

edam Thu 13-Jun-13 20:39:54

flatpack, you seem very aggressive. I merely posted about something I'd come across that looked worrying.

And at least I can spell Tory...

flatpackhamster Thu 13-Jun-13 20:45:21


I simply don't understand what the possible motivation would be to block this.

An analogy - imagine if the government in Westminster decided how many police officers each county council should operate.

That's what we have here. Not the principle that governments shouldn't support food banks, but the issue that the EU is inveigling itself in to a process in which it has no jurisdiction.

flatpack, you seem very aggressive. I merely posted about something I'd come across that looked worrying.

Did you? That was all you 'merely' did, was it? Apart from describing Tories as 'despicable', of course. That seems awfully aggressive of you.

And at least I can spell Tory...

Jesus wept.

claig Thu 13-Jun-13 20:47:08

Here is a House of Lords report on something to do with it.
It looks like it is to do with the principle of subsidiarity.

"We share the Commission’s concerns about EU citizens suffering from
deprivation, and recognise the negative impact of the economic crisis.

However, this report focuses on whether the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived satisfies the principle of subsidiarity. This principle provides that, in policy areas which do not fall within the exclusive competence of the European Union, but where competence is shared with the Member States, the Union can act “only if and insofar as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States”.

We have come to the conclusion that the proposal is inconsistent with the principle."

PatPig Thu 13-Jun-13 22:07:02

I think we should give Edam some sort of prize, for starting a thread with the words "The Tories really are despicable sometimes, aren't they?" and then getting affronted when less strident words were spoken about the opposition party.


claig Thu 13-Jun-13 22:12:09

Edam is a very good poster and at first view this could easily have looked like uncaring Tories.

The Labour MEPS with
'Cameron's Crumbs' Leaving UK Foodbanks Starving say Labour MEPs
can easily give the impression that this is what it is about.

But it does look like there are legal principles behind the opposition to it. But it looks like it has passed anyway and that the majority of MEPs passed it.

PatPig Thu 13-Jun-13 22:31:19

I think there is a basic problem that we don't necessarily want the EU to spend our money, because there isn't convincing evidence that they are better at it than we are.

So as a matter of principle, opposing EU spending seems like a good idea, because it gives us greater control over our own.

claig Thu 13-Jun-13 22:39:28

I think you are right, PatPig.

We can hold our own members of parliament to account for the money they spend, but we have very little say about what the EU chooses to do with our money.

Subsidiarity is an important principle, since it maintains some of our sovereignty and means that we can hold our elected officials to account.

edam Thu 13-Jun-13 22:46:30

Patpig, please stop making stuff up. I didn't 'get offended' because someone said something about the Labour party. I've no idea what you are talking about but it clearly isn't anything I have actually said.

Claig and I are often on different sides of a political debate, but we manage without attacking each other. Something you could learn from, Patpig.

NiceTabard Thu 13-Jun-13 23:57:21


the problem (as shown in the quotes)

is that the tories don't want the embarrassment of the EU spending some of it's budget for supporting people in poverty, on the UK.

They will stop it as it is embarrassing for them
Even if it means depriving charities of monies that would assist with people in poverty.

Tories have their reputation to uphold, you know.

Redbindy Fri 14-Jun-13 00:04:14

NiceTabard; we all know the Tories are scum. However the EU budget for supporting people in poverty is money that they have extracted from member nations. It would be far more efficient to withhold payments to the EU, and spend the money directly on helping our own citizens.

NiceTabard Fri 14-Jun-13 00:13:48

But the tories wont spend it directly on helping their own citizens confused

Not the same ones anyway. That goes against their entire philosophy.

The argument isn't about what we pay / don't pay to europe. If we don't take the money it will be reallocated amongst the countries who need it. So cutting off nose to spite face?

Or punishing the poor?

Either way, not good, not good at all.

PatPig Fri 14-Jun-13 00:47:22

The Tories created much of the welfare state. The idea that they are fundamentally opposed to it is not supported by the evidence of the last 60 years.

edam Fri 14-Jun-13 13:32:07

Yeah right, it was Lloyd George (Liberal) who brought in the old age pension and Clem Attlee's post war Labour government who brought in the NHS and welfare state.

PatPig Fri 14-Jun-13 13:45:11

That's a grossly simplified view of the welfare state.

The Tories introduced Family Income Supplement to tackle child poverty in 1971.

They also introduced Incapacity Benefit around the same time.

Thatcher's government increased both FIS/Family credit and IB levels well above inflation, if you look at the number on IB in 1979 and compare with 1997, or the number in receipt of means tested child benefits in 1979 (around 80,000) and compare with 1997 (around 750,000), you will see that the idea that the Tories are against the welfare state is nonsense.

The Thatcher government in particular effected massive structural changes to the economy, one of the results of which was a greatly expanded welfare state.

NiceTabard Fri 14-Jun-13 18:52:37

That's not creating the welfare state, that's making changes once it is already in existence.

Honestly. Some people hmm

PatPig Fri 14-Jun-13 22:26:04

The welfare state is humongous. Far beyond what Lloyd George or Attlee would ever have considered.

Much of it, as I said, was created by the Tories.

NiceTabard Fri 14-Jun-13 22:40:51

Give it up.
It is on public record who created the welfare state in the UK.

NiceTabard Fri 14-Jun-13 22:43:33

I mean, seriously, to say that the tories created the welfare state based on thatcher bringing in some new benefits in the 70s is bonkers not credible.

i suspect your posts all over might be similarly, ha, suspect grin

If you wanna spin for the tories you need to take some lessons.


edam Fri 14-Jun-13 23:12:04

Patpig, I think you are confusing 'throwing millions of people out of work' with 'creating the welfare state'. They are two very different things.

gallicgirl Fri 14-Jun-13 23:23:22

Subsidiarity doesn't mean that the nation state should be dealing with any given situation, but that it's dealt with at the most appropriate level. That could mean county council or town council.
UK governments love to seize the principle of Subsidiarity as a reason to retain control at nation state level but the true intention of subsidiarity is to allow action at a regional level.

Back to the bun fight.

PatPig Fri 14-Jun-13 23:31:55

NiceTabard, you seem a bit clueless on your history. Thatcher was in power in the 1980s (plus a few months in 1979). Heath was in power from 1970 and 1974, and his government introduced several welfare benefits, as did Thatchers in the 1980s

I am not spinning for anyone, just pointing out that the Attlee or Lloyd George welfare states would cause riots in the streets, because they are a tiny fraction of the size of the current welfare state.

The Conservatives were in power from 1951-1964, 1970-1974, and 1979-1997 and 2010-present, i.e. the great majority of the post-war period.

If they were, as is claimed, committed to smash the welfare state, they would have done so. Instead they massively expanded it, introducing new benefits.

I'm not really sure what the causes were of high unemployment in 1982, but as I understand it the common allegation is that people were shifted from the dole onto the much more generous Incapacity Benefit, thereby reducing the numbers that were officially unemployed.

If this is so, regardless of whether they 'threw millions out of work', it does show the truth about the Tories and the welfare state, because rather than saying 'let the market solve the problem', and allowing millions to be unemployed, they instead said 'it is better to increase the size and cost of the welfare state by getting these people off unemployment and onto welfare'.

I have no doubt that lots of individual Tories would love to make drastic cuts, but the fact is that never in the history of modern Britain has welfare spending ever fallen, under any government (and the current government is certainly not changing that).

NiceTabard Sat 15-Jun-13 21:57:56

hahaha at someone who doesn't understand the difference between tinkering with something already in existence, and creating it in the first place, calling someone else "clueless".

Of course saying that the tories created the welfare state is tory spin. Because, you know, they didn't. Spin or a lie. Take your pick.

PatPig Sat 15-Jun-13 22:10:24

You are spouting considerable shite. As I said, they constructed much of the welfare state. Not merely tinkering, but greatly expanding. I didn't say they created it initially.

NiceTabard Sat 15-Jun-13 23:00:09

ooh aren't we snippy

"The Tories created much of the welfare state. "

they didn't though did they. They tinkered with the welfare state once it was already in existence, as every government has done since it was created.

PatPig Sat 15-Jun-13 23:10:39

No, they created much of what now forms the welfare state.

The welfare state was not created all at once - just an example, the welfare state as originally formed didn't provide housing and sufficient money for a single parent to survive, as the current one does.

pointythings Sun 16-Jun-13 21:18:36

Irrespective of who created the welfare state I think it's very dodgy to say you oppose an idea intended to support those who depend on food banks purely for politico-legal reasons. That says a lot about the Tories' priorities.

flatpackhamster Mon 17-Jun-13 22:15:34


Irrespective of who created the welfare state I think it's very dodgy to say you oppose an idea intended to support those who depend on food banks purely for politico-legal reasons. That says a lot about the Tories' priorities.

Let's say there's an Evil Business wants to knock down your house and 100 houses around it and build a glue factory. And you object and the local council refuses permission. Then the government comes along and grants the business permission. The higher level of government is over-riding the lower one.

That's the equivalent of what's happening here. The EU is riding roughshod over the rules on subsidiarity. It's a power grab, and they're getting away with it because of all the limp-wristed wet lefties who go 'oooh look, big government make poor people not hungry, lovely lovely big government'.

And d'you really think that Brussels is best placed to decide who's hungry and where and deliver food aid?

pointythings Tue 18-Jun-13 18:32:23

If it means more people are getting food aid in the UK, then it's fine. Frankly, I'd rather be a limp-wristed lefty, coming from you I'll take that as a compliment. Having seen your post I know where you are on the political spectrum - we will never, ever agree on anything.

flatpackhamster Tue 18-Jun-13 19:38:30


If it means more people are getting food aid in the UK, then it's fine.

It doesn't necessarily. It could mean that food aid goes to Bulgaria where half the population live below the poverty line, or Greece or Spain or Portugal.

Frankly, I'd rather be a limp-wristed lefty, coming from you I'll take that as a compliment. Having seen your post I know where you are on the political spectrum - we will never, ever agree on anything.

If you take that as a compliment, I may have to draft some fresh insults, just in case my contempt for your brand of touchy-feely disregard-the-facts politics isn't clear enough.

I don't expect us to agree. But I do expect you to be able to defend your position with something more than 'Tories are bad because they are', which is the sort of thinking I expect from a sixth-former or a union rep.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now