Thursday, November 29, 2012

Foodbanks are not soup kitchens

From the World Socialist Web Site, an article yesterday began:

Since the outbreak of the economic crisis in 2008, there has been a huge expansion in the UK of soup kitchens, known euphemistically as food banks, as a result of growing poverty.

A euphemism is "The act or an example of substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for one considered harsh, blunt, or offensive."

But a food bank is exactly that.  A place where one person can contribute groceries and another can withdraw them. It is NOT a soup kitchen. Another left-wing distortion of language. To stir the emotions they invoke harsh historical images.

The article concerns UK legislation that will see some emergency welfare devolved to local councils.

New legislation will for the first time make charities, rather than the welfare state, the main provider of emergency food supplies to those fallen on hard times.
Another exaggeration when considering the next sentences;

From next April, the central government-administered Social Fund, which provides emergency loans and grants, will be abolished as a result of the 2012 Welfare Reform Act and the responsibility handed over to local authorities. The new funding is set at 2005 budget levels and not ring-fenced (protected), so local authorities will inevitably cut the number of emergency loans and refer those in trouble to food banks instead.
 Note the difference between "will" in the first quote and "inevitably" in the second.

Anyway, this is a sensible development. The more localised and intimate welfare assistance becomes, the more the wheat can be sorted from the chaff.

The article goes on to describe the increasing call on UK food banks. But that can happen regardless of economic conditions.

Note the growth in NZ (Auckland I think) usage of foodbanks in the first part of last decade when the unemployment rate and numbers on benefits were dropping.


Anonymous said...

There is something good in all this though as charity food banks have, in my experience, some expectations that govt does not. If you keep looking for the handout the foodbank may (and should) seek to confirm your circumstances and counsel you about managing money to ensure the food goes to those who most need it. Quite a few stop coming when the hard word is laid on them.

That's how it should be - no free lunch.


S. Beast said...

Anon - Usually you do have to confirm your circumstances with foodbanks. This is done either through providing original documents to budgeting services who then refer you into the food bank, or sometimes they actually check your pantry. The one I worked for would do this, and you also had to have something from Work and Income showing your food grant entitlement had run out.

Soup kitchens on the other hand you can go there and pay a small amount for your meal. At the Wellington Soup kitchen you can buy a ten meal card and get it punched as you use it which is useful if you have difficultly managing money.