This is a bit of a surprise

The number of families saying they are going hungry has fallen over the past five years – as the number of food banks has risen.

Britons were among the least likely in the developed world to say there were times when they could not afford food, an international report found.

Only 8.1 per cent reported this in 2012, down from 9.8 per cent in 2007 – before the economic crisis and when Labour was in power.

The study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which represents industrialised nations, flies in the face of Left-wing claims that cuts in public spending are leaving thousands of families going hungry.

OK, so that’s real numbers there. OECD survey results.

The number of people going hungry has fallen over the past five years. We might be able to suggest a reason why too: the number of food banks has risen. That is, giving people free food via charity reduces the number of hungry people. Quite amazing how that works really.

24 thoughts on “This is a bit of a surprise”

  1. O/T. Our favourite retired accountant will be offering his opinion of the Budget on Radio 2 at Lunchtime today. More proof that the BBC is conducting a dis-information campaign in favour of the Looting Party?

  2. Even more of a surprise – the Daily Mail doesnt appear to have misinterpreted data.

    link to the above and also to an excel spreadsheet with data:

    the Gallup question being:

    “Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”

    I suspect that in the UK this may reflect underlying food prices more than anything else – the US deterioration has been astonishing from 13.4% to 21.1%, and Mexico has gone from 31.9% to 38.3%.

    One hopes that the BBC will do its duty as a public service broadcaster and spend as much time on this as they have on peddling the lies of the left.

  3. David – well, obviously if the state ran the food banks they’d need risk assessments, you can’t hand out tins of baked beans without a risk assessment.

    And they’d need diversity outreach coordinators. How are they supposed to hand out tins of baked beans to diverse communities without a diversity strategy?

    And they’d need a nice big fat layer of management to ensure taxpayers’ money is being spent wisely. And they’d all be on gold plated public sector pensions, because you can’t expect people to hand out tins of baked beans without getting a pension.

    And they’d be open every day except for Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and alternate Wednesdays, because you can’t expect people handing out tins of baked beans to work themselves to death.

    And clients of food banks would have to fill out means testing forms in triplicate, then wait 6-8 weeks to get their baked beans, to weed out the scam artists looking for free beans.

    The state would reluctantly have to impose a minimum charge of £7.49 per tin of baked beans, to defray the huge cost of running the food bank service.

    Finally, when clients of the government food banks had at last navigated all the paperwork, waited 6-8 weeks, scrounged up £7.49, and queued in a dingy waiting room for an appropriately purgatorial length of time, their case officer would explain to them that new government guidelines on fighting obesity mean baked beans have been taken off the menu.

    But if they come back the Wednesday after next they can have some tinned peas. Maybe.

  4. But the question is “Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”. The question directly asks whether you have enough money, not food. The existence of food banks won’t affect the answer.

    Therefore there must be another explanation.

  5. Correlation cannot be assumed as causation?
    Personally, I’ve my doubts about the effects of food banks. There’s going to be an awful lot of the “usual suspects” going on amongst recipients. Has any other time I’ve seen freebies up for grabs.
    My experience of people with tales of going hungry because they couldn’t afford food have almost always been they couldn’t afford it because they’d spent it elsewhere on non-essentials. it’s a regrettable truth, a great deal of the “poor” are poor because they haven’t a clue how to manage their money. So just maybe, all the talk of “austerity” might have penetrated to the extent they’re taking a little more care with their spending & getting to the end of the week without a bare larder.

  6. Andrew,

    If somebody is giving you stuff for free you don’t need money to buy it? The emphasis there being on the “needed” not the “enough money”?

    Might be true, might be a red herring*.

    Herring are oily fish and are therefore officially healthy. As long as they haven’t been salted, smoked or pickled, all of which are officially unhealthy. Unfortunately, fresh herring do not survive the 3 months minimum warehousing for State Food Bank issue produce. Therefore, herring, red or otherwise, is not State Approved for Issue to State Approved Differentially-Money-Abled Persons.

  7. BTW I don’t think it must be the job of state to feed starving people. I just wondered what was cheaper.

  8. Hmm. If you play around with the OECD data it turns out that there is a relationship between relative poverty and food and between the generosity of benefits and food. If you rank poverty and generosity of benefits and use that to explain food, you get an r-squared of about 0.76.

  9. A little vignette to show some people’s attitudes to “free stuff” and the wisdom of the state supplying it:

    A colleague used to do a lot of voluntary charitable work through his church, working with “deprived” families in one of the shittiest estates in Scotland*. The council were renovating properties and installing new kitchens etc. He visited one of his regular families after they had their kitchen work completed. The new fridge, freezer, oven and microwave had already been stripped out and sold for cash.

    *I won’t name the estate, but it is really shitty

  10. That’s nearly 5 million people going hungry?
    If that was happening in Africa we’d be having compulsory pop concerts about it.

  11. @GlenDorran
    You jocksters are an unenterprising bunch! London’s “enriched” community have been know to strip places back to there’s nothing left but the walls. Seriously. Even the floorboards.

  12. The latest Gallup number for this is 11% – from 2013 apr-jun

    The estimation error on this is probably quite wide – note that in the OECD report they take a far wider window to reduce the error. The UK has little food insecurity in relative terms no matter how we slice this though.

  13. Bloke with a Boat


    I have been working as an “industry expert” trying to implement a Government policy for the past 2 years and I can assure you that you have missed:

    A team of policy advisers whose job is to write submissions (subs as they are known) to Ministers and senior civil servants briefing them on who the policy is going. These usually start out being quite frank and end up rose tinted.

    A large press office whose job is to arrange favorable press coverage and photo opportunities for ministers.

    A rebuttal unit in No10.

    A team of people to answer Parliamentary Questions.

    A large legal team, usually external specialists, because everything Govt does needs a huge procurement exercise that meets EU law.

    And of course all those people need managers, admin staff and a Programme Management Office whose job is to …. well I still don’t know.

  14. From Georgie’s Budget:

    “Those accused of using a tax avoidance scheme and appealing will have to pay tax up front while they appeal, rather than after. This will bring forward £4bn in receipts.”

    No wonder people listen to The Big Dick, he must have friends in high places. Even Tories believe in the Curajous State.

    Accused, sentenced, then tried.

    Can we do that to them, please?

  15. @Steve, you are assuming that the government has not imposed the same requirement for risk assessments, diversity policies, working directives, food hygiene training, liability for tins of beans 2 days past best-before, employers liability insurance, cover for some chav burning down the building the food bank is renting and the rest of it on the private sector. Including non-profit organisations that rely heavily on voluntary labour, charitable donations, and the evil supermarkets handing over their cast-offs for nowt.

    It would be no surprise if the cost of distributing a tin of beans via a food bank approaches that £7.49. Which I suppose is acceptable (indeed pretty much any cost is) for emergency feeding of starving children. But here, surely distributing vouchers or even cash for purchase via the established retail channels would be more cost effective. It’s not as if we have to parachute ration packs into a refugee camp in Ethicongoland. But that solution creates less of a leftist political talking point, concerns about the use of such handouts for fags’n’booze, and no extra work for Jemima at the food bank, or Jolyon at the government food bank diversity co-ordination unit.

    @Andrew, you are assuming people think about what the carefully-phrased, focus-group-tested question means before answering it.

  16. It also occurs that a lot of that requirement for food banks is due to the current bureaucracy being unable to distribute cash to those legally entitled to it in a timely fashion – one of the few valid points Ms Monroe has made. I was there myself once, for bizarre reasons involving a cock-up over start dates on leaving one job and moving to another. I’d paid enough national insurance to get non-means-tested JSA or whatever it was called, but having paid it partly across two different financial years, with not quite enough in either, computer said no.

  17. There is a need for food banks?
    The people of the UK don’t seem to be wasting away or even gaunt. Not from the outside anyway.
    Well directed under nutrition of the adults might have some merit.

  18. Been plenty of times have not had the money to buy food. So had to cook something from the freezer or the pantry or fridge.
    Not having money to buy food does not necessarily mean no food in the house.
    Run out of milk and bread more commonly than most other stuff – do not have to have either with a meal. Have been known to microwave a pasty for lunch, or have a drink without milk. Cooked breakfast even rather than cereal.

    Has anyone ever done a study on whether people using a foodbank actually have no food? Or merely couple of cupboards worth?

  19. I only use the provision of the food bank on a Wednesday, when I want to go for a pint on a Saturday night

  20. Has anybody bothered to ask if any of these people are morbidly obese, and whether they have run out of food because they are eating what 4 normal people would put away each day?

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