Jobcentres to send poor and hungry to charity food banks
Jonathan Owen and Brian Brady
Sept 19, 2011
Tens of thousands of benefits claimants will be referred to food banks by the Government, which is worried that many Britons face a stark choice: starvation or feeding themselves by begging or stealing.
From tomorrow, jobcentres in England and Wales will refer the needy to charity-run food banks that will give them a food parcel. It is the first time in living memory that hungry people will have been passed on to charities in this way.
The move comes amid growing levels of food poverty, fuelled by rising food prices and high rates of unemployment. Under the scheme, people whose benefits have been delayed, or have been refused crisis loans, will be referred to their local food bank. A claimant will be limited to three consecutive referrals â€“ each time giving them enough food for three days. They will be given basics such as tinned soup, baked beans, meat, fish and pasta.
The scheme will operate from more than 70 food banks run by the Trussell Trust, a Christian charity. It will open another 60 in the next six months, according to Jeremy Ravn, a director. “We are forecasting that we will feed somewhere between 90,000 and 100,000 this financial year,” he said. “And we’d expect 30-40 per cent of those to be [caused by] problems over benefits.”
This article was posted: Monday, September 19, 2011 at 3:06 am