The DWP will be running a trial program to put jobcentre staff into food banks where they can provide advice to those visiting for food parcels.
The official line is that they will be able to provide advice to people on finding a job or claiming benefits and there will be a phone line available for the days when the food bank is closed.
Apparently there is strong support for this and if the trial in Manchester is successful then it will be rolled out across the whole country.
Well, where do I start.
According to the food banks themselves as many as 44% of the people forced to visit them are doing so because of delays in their benefit payments. Bureaucratic delays, sanctions, jobcentre paper shuffling and incompetence all result in no money coming through and people going hungry.
So they visit the food banks as a last resort. For thousands they are visiting because the job centre has abandoned them, sanctioned them and left them to starve. Having to go cap in hand to a charity in order to put food on the family table because of the Jobcentre only to find the jobcentre now officially involved in the food banks is a bit like a kick in the teeth.
Hi there, nice to see you again, come in and get your food because we at the job centre sanctioned you or delayed your payments and left your family to starve, oh while you’re here could I offer you some advice of claiming benefits.
Piss and Taking.
The jobcentre used to offer a service where they helped people find jobs and gave advice on things like benefits. Back in the old days, the pre Tory days when the jobcentre was about jobs and finding them. But that ended years ago.
So if you want to go back to helping people find jobs why not actually do it in the jobcentre rather than going to food banks.
If it’s the same staff then why can’t they help people find jobs five days a week in the JC+.
If it’s not the same people then why the heck aren’t they in the jobcentres giving people that advice, why put them in the food banks.
The jobcentres failures and the deliberate policy of the Tory government over the last five years have been responsible for the appalling rise in the need for food banks and the number of people using them.
This is the Tory party that laughs or walks out of debates in the house whenever poverty and hunger is debated.
Now we see the government and IDS actually working to incorporate the very symbol of their failed policies into the official structure that did the failing in the first place. Food banks and charities now officially part of the DWP, no need to worry about people anymore, the jobcentres official food banks (fully funded and supported by charities and the public) will be there to pick up the slack.
Isn’t this just asking the general public to pay for the services and support that the DWP should be providing and doing so under the badge of the DWP.
Maybe they can expand it to cover those hit by the tax credit cuts as well.
IDS recently questioned reports by the Trussell trust that they had expanded nearly 400% in two years in Scotland. His comment was that “While the figures were “genuinely put together” they were “not absolutely clear”.
What’s not clear about a fourfold increase in the number of food banks over two years in Scotland?
Food banks are a terrible sign of just how hard the Tories austerity agenda and cruelty toward the poor and those on benefits have hit home. Year after year it has been blindingly obvious that people are suffering as the result of deliberate policies and more are going to suffer in the future when the latest cuts hit home.
Any human being who cared in the slightest for the huge numbers of people in poverty would be trying to make food banks unnecessary, not acting to incorporate them into the same official structure that is failing people so badly in the first place.
The million visits a year just to Trussell food banks and as many more to other food banks, suicides, deaths, homelessness, the litany is endless.
The official solution from IDS, ignore why there are so many food banks around, instead take advantage of them to abandon yet more of the responsibilities and duties the DWP should have.
Putting job centre staff into food banks may seem, on some levels, like a good idea but the reality is that all it does is shows just how broken the system is. If the DWP wants to offer advice to people how about doing so in the Jobcentres and stop sending people to the food banks in the first place.
Why on earth should the jobcentre need to have someone in a food bank asking why they are going hungry, why benefits are delayed, why can’t that be dealt with in the jobcentre? Or is it because a lot of these people have been treated badly by the JC+ and are trying to work around them.
Hey IDS, how about helping people not to need food banks in the first place.