A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
I agree, it's really really bad the way Ms. Featherstone and her ilk are trying to sweep the tragedy of food banks under the rug because it distracts (and detracts) from their propaganda that the economy is doing so great. I was gobsmacked to learn last week that the Government has refused to accept EU funding re: food banks. What, are they so Orwellian that they think if we don't talk about something, it doesn't exist? It is an absolute indictment of current policies that in the 21st century so many thousands of people in Britain must choose daily between going hungry vs. attending food banks.
PS. Most of the people whose benefits are being slashed by right wing MPs living in ivory towers like Ms. Featherstone are titularly "in work", i.e. they're not making enough money to balance the household books at the end of the month. That's the reality of the cost of living crisis and shame on politicians who pretend it isn't happening. Go to Edmonton or the A10 and have a look at the queues of people cap in hand. Shameful
First a bit of context - Foodbanks are relatively recent -the Trussell Trust has been operating UK food banks since 2000, you will note, Cllr Sitkin, that the need for , and operation of Foodbanks (the tragedy of Foodbanks as you call it above) was established under your colleague Tony Blair's Labour Government. Yes: A. LABOUR. GOVERNMENT!
Whilst it is true that there has been a significant and recent rise in the uptake of this voluntary sector provided service under the Tories, (see graph below from "Left foot Forward" blog) this is really not a subject for Labour to claim the moral high ground.
And where was Enfield Southgate MP David Burrowes in last weeks Foodbank Debate? Hansard shows his name under neither the "Ayes" nor the "Noes" in this division - was he Paired - or simply too disinterested to attend? All a little surprising as he too has made personal political capital out of local foodbanks - Burrowes has appeared at church based opening events and generated local press coverage for his role, almost as if the rise in demand was nothing to with his party's policies. What kind of politician concerns himself with just the consequences of an issue without examining the causes?
The Tories didn't win the 2010 general election and have only been allowed to dismantle welfare provision, introduce the bedroom tax etc with the active support of the Lib Dems - none of the political parties come out of this with any glory. And If I may say, as a constituent, It is most unedifying to see elected politicians using the plight of hungry children to score cheap political points.
Jude I echo your wish that we might move toward a more just, empathetic and kind society - One where Food Banks are not needed. I hope some of the community enterprise and activism reported on this website can help to move us in this direction - yet I fear that our current crop of elected representatives are too concerned with their own short-term careers to offer genuine leadership in the real world and make a difference for our destitute neighbours.
John, despite my being a loyal party political Labour guy, I actually agree a lot of what you just said. Statistically you're right that the first instances of food banks in the modern era started under the last Labour government. But you know, I think the best way to analyse this is in paradigm terms, i.e. this tragedy translates the failings of the neo-liberal approach that has dominated policy since Thatcher-Reagan. To the extent that Mr. Blair did not deviate from this nefarious rightwing trajectory, he was complicit in the way it played out.
Thankfully Ed Milliband, Jon Cruddas and our other leaders have learned the deeper lessons of history and are taking the Labour Party in the right direction today. Unlike the Tories - and unfortunately many Lib Dems - who continue to preach laissez-faire nonsense, irrespective of its obvious failure, exemplified amongst other things by food banks.
Lastly, and in the same spirit of honesty, please agree with me that the need for food banks has skyrocketed exponentially under this Tory-Lib Dem government, showing levels of poverty far exceeding what one would normally expect of our economy at this point in the cycle. So that is really bad - which is what I wrote above.
Thanks for your understanding, Alan
Thanks for initiating this discussion - back in October we carried a piece about young people contributing to a local foodbank and how a local school had reintroduced harvest festival specifically to support the Enfield foodbank - you can read the full article here - but just to repeat the last line: "...whilst the work of the foodbank volunteers and staff provide a vital lifesaving service ... isn’t it a disgrace that in Britain, in 2013, in the capital of the seventh richest country in the world, primary school kids are feeding their neighbours?"
Christmas is often a time for charitable giving - If people want to support the North Enfield Foodbank, their website lists the goods they are in need of, and ways to make a financial donation.
And here's a link to Haringey Foodbank - often collecting at Wood Green Morrisons.
Featherstone's vote is an absolute disgrace, especially for someone "representing" residents of part of a borough with such appalling levels of poverty.
As pointed out already, Burrowes likes to latch on to any local campaigns that make him look like a caring member of the community, but when it comes down to it he's100% signed up to the government's cruel agenda. For sheer hypocrisy, just look at his accusations that by selling Southgate Town Hall Enfield Council had "sold off the family silver". I don't remember him making speeches opposing the sale of Royal Mail, a prized national treasure that belonged to all of us and a much bigger item of family silver - I haven't checked, but I bet he voted in favour. And did he oppose the drastic cuts in funding of local authorities that have forced them to sell their assets? Fat chance.
Finally, as pointed out, the rot - lower wages and higher rents - started under Labour and it's time that they stopped pussyfooting around and came up with some radical proposals as to how to resurrect the decent, caring society that we once had.
Exactly, which is why you'll be pleased to note Basil that Enfield's Labour Administration not only proudly pays London living wage but has embarked upon a novel housing initiative that will enable us to have a greater ability to set rents that are more affordable for tenants.