I was shocked, but not surprised, to read John Glen (“View from the Commons” 11thDec) repeat yet again his mantra that the food bank debate had become too politicised. John is a member of a government that has sought to politicise poverty and welfare via a tirade of divisive misinformation, smear and innuendo all aimed at demonising anyone in receipt of benefits. Under cover of this PR campaign the government has implemented an indiscriminate programme of cuts that have disproportionately affected the poor and vulnerable.
The food bank charities and churches do a tremendous job coping with the growing level of food poverty but let’s not confuse that with the motivation of politicians who actually think that food banks are a good thing and would prefer it if government could be absolved from responsibility for the welfare of its citizens.
The issue of food banks and food poverty is intensely political and for some it is a way of diverting attention away from their plans for reducing democratically accountable government to an irreducible minimum.
According to George Osborne we have only suffered 40% of his cuts; a further 60% are planned. If he gets anywhere near achieving this target it will not just be the poor and vulnerable that will be relying on food banks. Many who currently have secure, reasonably paid jobs will find themselves working on zero hour or part time contracts or doing their current job but employed by Serco or G4S for reduced salary and poorer conditions of service.
The government’s austerity plans for the next parliament are unprecedented. It is time for John Glen to come clean and tell us what will be cut and what the consequences will be, apart of course from a massive further increase in the need for food banks.
Finally, what about balancing the books and getting the deficit down? It is worth pointing out that, while our deficit needs reducing, there is no body of evidence suggesting that we need to reduce it as far or as fast as George Osborne plans, unless of course his plans are ideologically motivated rather than financially necessary.
John Glen is clearly seeking to avoid discussing his own government’s responsibility for the increasing need for food banks. However his attempt to do this and his claim that he wanted to keep politics out of the debate, managed to cause quite a response in the Salisbury Journal. Here is a link to an article about that response: Readers backlash over John Glen’s Feeding Britain report (First published Salisbury Journal web site, Tuesday 16 December 2014 in News )
Here is a link to the offending letters in the Salisbury Journal: MP’s own government has caused the foodbank need_need/