DWP minister thinks foodbanks are a ‘perfect’ solution

Therese Coffey foodbank
Fréa Lockley

Secretary of state at the department for work and pensions (DWP) Thérèse Coffey has given a sickening response to an important question about foodbanks and inequality.

“Gross injustice”
Sultana was spot on in her criticism of Coffey’s response:

Coffey has actually bragged about visiting foodbanks. She also completely failed to answer Sultana’s question:

I visited a similar food bank in my own constituency that has been working together with food redistribution schemes. Marrying the two is a perfect way to try to address the challenges that people face at difficult times in their lives.

She went further, calling people forced to use foodbanks “customers” as though they simply pop out to do a nice bit of consumerism.

People’s response on social media said it all:

“Fourth emergency service”

Sultana’s question was spot on. On 26 January, for example, BristolLive reported that one foodbank volunteer stated that “four [or] five nurses visited the foodbank in one week”. The volunteer asked:

How can it be that those who work tirelessly to take care of others need to use foodbanks in order to eat?

Yet Coffey’s response also failed to acknowledge that volunteer-run foodbanks rely on donations. All this to support people living in poverty and struggling to eat as a result of ten years of Tory-led austerity, welfare cuts, and now Universal Credit. As for acknowledging the rise of “fat-cat” salaries and widening inequality, forget it.

In April 2019, the Trussell Trust revealed that foodbank use in the UK had hit a record high. “Between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019” it gave out “1.6 million” food parcels, a rise of 19% from the previous year, and over “half a million of these went to children”.

Coffey’s response showed just how far Conservative cuts have normalised foodbank use in the UK. Sabine Goodwin, coordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network, said:

in just 10 years emergency charitable food aid has been effectively normalised as a fourth emergency service in the UK.

The DWP is not fit for purpose. And Coffey’s latest response highlights just how dangerous it truly is.

Featured image via Wikimedia – Chris McAndrew / Fréa Lockley

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  • Show Comments
    1. It never surprise me how the Tories welcome socialism when it’s in response to government cutbacks, as in British people feeding the poorest; or as a means to implement further cost cutting as in the Orwellian doublespeak “volunteers” on Workfare macht Frei, who are actually forced labour and have no right to not “volunteer”. It’s socialism in that the work is done by the [poor] working class and is free to the end-user (and two of the biggest exploiters of Workfare are the Church and registered charities.)

      Not only do the Tories like this kind of socialism they’re the worst ones for turning to it.

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