What They Don't Tell Us About Food Banks

(6 Posts)
BeingAMumIsFun Thu 19-Dec-13 19:33:19

News reports constantly claim “food banks are operated by the Trussell Trust, which has more than 325 of them in the UK" - But are the food banks operated by the Trussell Trust?

Trussell Trust is in fact a “franchisor” - So what exactly is a “franchisor”?

According to the UK Franchisor Directory
• The Franchisor should have registered, protected and secured the Intellectual Property Rights in relation to their brand. This then provides them with the legal right to allow others to use their registered trade or service mark.

• The people investing in the opportunity must trade under the Franchisors brand and not have flexibility to choose another trading name or style.

• The Franchisor provides initial training identifying the methods to be used in promoting the products and/or services. The Franchisor benefits from the ongoing activity of the people investing into the opportunity by way of a Management Services Fee, Royalty or supply of products and services with a mark-up.

So if the Trussell Trust is a “franchisor” does this mean, like the McDonald’s “franchise” the Trussell Trust food banks are actually operated by other people who have to pay the Trussell Trust to use their “franchise”?

The Trussell Trust food bank franchise is one of a new breed of what is called “social franchises” which like McDonalds, charges others for the franchise but unlike commercial franchises the social franchises are considered to be “social enterprises” which usually re-invest a minimum of 50% of the profits back in to the business or the strategic cause the franchise supports.

Social enterprises and social franchises can be set up as a business or a charity and be set up for profit.

Dan Berelowitz, the founder and Chief Executive of The International Centre for Social Franchising, undertook a study comparing McDonald’s commercial franchise to the Trussell Trust social franchise.

According to his report for the successful growth of the Trussell Trust’s food bank franchise “credibility is all important”.

The Trussell Trust target market for their franchise growth is Churches – and what’s more credible and trusted in a community than a church - where the Trussell Trust can expect churches to not only spread the word of God but the Trussell Trust franchise name too.

The report states the Trussell Trust only wants Churches as franchisees. The churches actually have to pay £1500 to the Trussell Trust for the franchise, which the Trussell Trust refers to as a start- up “donation”.

Churches then must find a further £360 per year “donation” for the Trussell Trust’s franchise support.

The Trussell Trust claims this only covers about a third of the franchise costs and that they cover the other two thirds.

In the report, an interviewee is quoted as saying when they are contacted “The first document that we send them is the terms and conditions and a little bit of an explanation as to how the Foodbank works. It says who we are, what we do and it basically outlines how we work. Then there are the conditions and the money.”

The report goes on to say Churches are already struggling to find the money to sustain the franchise and the Trussell Trust recommends Churches could set up other “social enterprises”.

The Trussell Trust needs more franchises (food banks) to be set up to support the running costs of their central office -

So while Churches and their volunteers all over the country actually operate food banks and feed the poor, they are struggling to fund their outlays for the franchise while many media reports give the Trussell Trust all the credit.

This demonstrates how easily a franchisor can get the all the credit and money from the work Churches and their volunteers are actually doing operating the food banks.

In a second report looking at the increase of the number of Trussell Trust food banks in Britain, discussing the Trussell Trust’s strategy choice of creating a franchise for their food bank business one “strategic interviewee” was quoted as saying

“‘we were absolutely convinced we had a system we’d designed that was very effective, so we didn’t want it to be adapted inappropriately and then the whole problem of quality being cut back and screwed up basically by well-meaning volunteers who thought they knew better when we’d researched it for three years and evaluated it and fine tuned it’.

Despite these claims there are many successful food banks operating around the country run by volunteers in charities and community groups which are not affiliated with the Trussell Trust which allows them to concentrate all their efforts and their scarce funds purely in feeding local people rather than having the on-going worry about finding funds for a “franchisor” or the restrictions they impose.

So while some churches and volunteers run their food banks and the Trussell Trust gets the credit who else benefits from the rise of the food bank.

When Ian Duncan Smith agreed to a pilot scheme where Job Centre staff would be asked to hand out Trussell Trust food parcel vouchers when people were refused crisis loans, he stated in parliament, “It is important that it does not become a substitute for anything else”.

Despite this importance of food banks not replacing anything else, Ian Duncan Smith and his fellow Liberal and Tory MPs went against his words and decided to scrap DWP crisis loans from April this year, with a recommendation in England councils who get the DWP fund transferred to them can keep the money and refer the annual possible 2,690,000 claimants and their families to the Trussell Trust instead for food parcels.

Dan Berelowitz’s Trussell Trust v McDonalds report quotes an interviewee as saying “the Government has now also “agreed that they can trust Foodbank when people are in crisis,” adding that:
“They (the government) are getting something for nothing, and they are getting something for nothing from an organisation that is credible. Credibility is all-important, and reputation.” Especially when affiliating with churches.

So despite crisis loans being just a tiny 0.00068% of the DWP budget and costing us nothing, as unlike other benefits crisis loans are paid back, Ian Duncan Smith has decided he likes the possibility of other people benefitting from people in crisis with his recommendation millions of people in England are sent to food banks instead.

And despite the tiny size of this budget, Ian Duncan Smith has decided to make things even worse by deliberately cutting the budget : he is giving councils less than half the amount of the budget available to the DWP in 2009, with one council reporting a 43% cut on the budget they are being given, when compared to what the DWP had available in 2012.

Some English councils and the Scottish Government are planning to use the funds to give the food banks money instead of giving out loans as the DWP currently do. (food banks are not something for nothing after all). So who will get the money, will it be the churches and the volunteers operating the food banks or will the money be given to the “franchisor” for their benefit instead? Why are food banks getting paid for food they got for free – donated by taxpayers? Is this to ensure the Trussell Trust franchise costs are covered for churches?

And what food are food banks providing as an alternative to people using small loans they pay back to buy fresh food locally?

The Trussell Trust food parcels have no fresh milk, no fresh bread, no fresh meat and no fresh vegetables and families will be expected to live off these food parcels for 3 days. The Trussell Trust claims their food parcels are designed to be healthy and nutritious.

What do taxpayers think of this government led initiative – where the government gets 25.8 per cent of national earnings every week for an insurance policy known as N.I. and then the government adds a policy clause which ensures families will be sent for food parcels instead of claiming their policy benefits as they would expect before their “reforms”?

The government recommended food bank scheme relies on the public (taxpayers) buying extra food on top of their own shopping bill to donate to these food banks (as well as paying NI contributions).

Should hard pressed families who have already faced VAT hikes, withdrawal of their child benefit and an increase in their National Insurance Contributions as well as huge cuts in tax credits be expected to buy extra groceries to support a government policy of denying people access to benefits they can pay back?

Bankers think this is great as the “City Of London” likes it enough to have “partnered” with the Trussell Trust - what a bonus!

Asda, Waitrose and Tesco have all signed up to “support” the Trussell Trusts from this year - with the shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creoch saying “this was tremendous news” while the Daily Mirror stated they were fighting this scandal.

But of course, Asda, Tesco and Waitrose get double “benefits” from their support of this Trussell Trust food bank scheme.

The first benefit for these giant retailers is from people buying extra food in their stores to fill these food banks (while all the small local retailers lose out on business as nearly 3 million families are denied the ability to shop locally with crisis loans).

And as well as boosting their profits the added “benefit” for Asda, Tesco and Waitrose is the full cost of every single piece of food donated to the Trussell Trust by these companies is 100% tax deductible under HMRC’s “Gifts Of Trading Stock” tax rules.

Kellogg’s recently declared they will donate breakfast cereals to the Trussell Trust for the next 3 years, despite the fact there is no fresh milk in a Trussell Trust food parcel.

And with Kellogg’s calling for the government to “monitor food poverty” while we are all calling for the government to monitor “food quality” there is no mention from Kellogg’s on the “quality” or “sell by date” on the food donations they will be making.

And of course Kellogg’s can also claim 100% tax breaks on the full cost price of these “charitable food donations”, regardless of the quality or age of food donations, over and above the tax breaks they gave themselves when they moved their headquarters to Dublin in 2005 for tax purposes while laying off British workers in 2006!

When Will Kellogg started Kellogg’s in 1906 he used to say: ‘I’ll invest my money in people.’ – now Kellogg’s invest money in tax havens and 100% tax deductible food bank donations instead.

Would Asda, Tesco, Waitrose and Kellogg’s be donating food to the Trussell Trust if these donations were not 100% tax deductible (while we, the people who pay tax directly from our wages, don’t get tax deductions for the food we buy to donate)?

And while the Guardian claims “the government are embarrassed by food banks and this is not the big society David Cameron planned”, an article published on the Open Democracy website, in August 2011, Well Trousered Philanthorpists, Tory Party Chums and Food Parcels For The Poor, reported Trussell Trust management links to the Tory Party and government plans to deliberately scrap the DWP social fund’s crisis loans, coupled with a government recommendation councils send people to the Trussell Trust instead, proving this is exactly what David Cameron planned.

So government, councils, franchisors, food retailers and food producers can all benefit from sending millions of people to food banks just by scrapping crisis loans that are paid back, which cost us nothing and equate to just 0.00068% of the DWP budget.

With 2,690,000 crisis loans given out by the DWP in England alone in 2010/11, (and that was before benefit cuts), how many more people are likely to be forced into the clutches of food banks in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales now – and forever?

If we combine the massive cuts in the crisis loan budget with April’s simultaneous council tax benefit cuts, the bedroom tax and the orchestrated efforts to cut jobseekers benefits using “sanctions” reported by the Guardian, it is realistic to predict it won’t just be 2.69 million sent to food banks on behalf of the government by councils in England but many more.

As the government chooses to deprive millions of their dignity and unnecessarily deprive people access to tiny crisis loans for other people’s benefit, it reminds us of the fact American money carries the words “In God We Trust” – but it looks like good Christian Ian Duncan Smith has re-written the motto to one where churches, supermarkets, food manufacturers and government will tell us – for their benefits - “In Trussell We Trust”.

OP’s posts: |
Golddigger Thu 19-Dec-13 19:39:22

Lots of points there. Can I first ask, are you a regular mumsnet user, and will you be answering any points raised on this thread?

It is just that many blogers never seem to respond to any points raised.

BeingAMumIsFun Thu 19-Dec-13 19:50:30

I don't normally post as I did post here warning about this in 2011 but the post was moderated off without any warning while I was answering questions on it - which rather put me off from posting - as all I was giving was the information freely available online

OP’s posts: |
BeingAMumIsFun Thu 19-Dec-13 19:57:17

I've sent a lot of information to various organisations since 2011 trying to warn people of the government's plans to scrap benefits, recommending councils keep the money and send people to the Trussell Trust instead - and as a result I was invited to write a blog by the Open Democracy website in 2011 - with this article also giving the information regarding the links between Tory party policy writers and some of the management team in the Trussell Trust

Here is a link to that article

Well Trousered Philanthropists, Tory Party Chums and Food Parcels For The Poor


OP’s posts: |
Golddigger Thu 19-Dec-13 20:02:04

Hurrah, you answered. I personally have got fed up of replying on blogs, and the blogger never answers.

The Trussell Trust food parcels have no fresh milk, no fresh bread, no fresh meat and no fresh vegetables and families will be expected to live off these food parcels for 3 days. The Trussell Trust claims their food parcels are designed to be healthy and nutritious.

I never realised that was true for a start. Though I suppose it has to be, when the collections are in a non refridgerated box in a supermarket. That explains thier repeated calls for uht milk at mine.

And I can see your point about how cushy it all is for the Government of the day[presumably of any political persuasion], and the supermarkets.

BeingAMumIsFun Thu 19-Dec-13 20:11:53

The Trussell Trust was going for years giving support - but the report by stating a Trussell Trust spokesperson saying "they had been planning this for 3 years -

this plan was to turn a genuine charitable idea, already running into a "franchise" -

The Labour Government banned the Trussell Trust from getting Job Centre Staff in their local to give out vouchers - stating there is no place for this in the DWP -

It was only after the Director of the Trussell Trust, Chris Mould, started working in the Shaftesbury Partnership with Tory party Policy writers in a company set up by David Cameron's big society policy tzar Nat Wei - that the Trussell Trust got their way - and the Coalition started to force job centre staff across the UK to hand out Trussell Trust food vouchers

And then the coalition scrapped crisis loans with a recommendation recommending 2.69 million people in England per year who used these tiny loans (avg £50) be sent to the Trussell Trust instead

Yet this week the government claims the increase in people using food banks is nothing to do with them

OP’s posts: |

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in