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Well of course this will happen

But one couple, identified as April Hope, 42, and Leon Ashby, 49, walked out with six bags. They were joined by a man, known only as Rex, who had two bags.
After picking up their supplies, all three made straight for a block of flats, Meadow Court, and began knocking on doors on the ground floor. Evidently unsuccessful, they disappeared upstairs and tried the other floors, emerging 15 minutes later minus six of the bags. Hope and Ashby then went straight to a neighbouring block and, after going to the top floor and meeting a man on the landing, they returned to their nearby flat.
When asked to explain what she’d done, Hope, a self-confessed heroin addict, said: ‘We kept some bits and shared the other bits with someone who didn’t have a lot of money.’
She conceded one woman ‘paid us a few quid’ before adding: ‘OK, I got £5 altogether. Some of the stuff I wouldn’t eat and doesn’t suit my stomach but might suit somebody else’s.’

Asked what she and Ashby did with the money, she replied: ‘We got a fix. That’s why Rex was hanging with us because he knew we’d be getting some.’

There’s this sort of leakage in any system of welfare, whether charitable or State.

Does it mean that we shouldn’t support food banks?

Nope, there’s always leakage in any such system.

But it does mean that we should be looking just a tad askance at the claims of the Trussell Trust and others: that the existence of food banks is evidence of destitution in the UK.

38 thoughts on “Well of course this will happen”

  1. As you’ve observed before, for these people, it’s the rational thing to do. “rational” doesn’t mean, “nice”.

  2. I’ll tell anyone who will listen that for practical purposes use of food banks has reduced since 09/10. Because the function of the food bank is to give emergency support, and while Trussell Trust visits are up, applications for budgeting and crisis loans and grants have dropped by more.
    ( cynical govt policy which is probably why they don’t boast that things are better )
    Or put another way back in 09/10 for functional purposes the food bank voucher was hard cash from the DWP and the food bank was Tesco.

  3. I wonder if it would be cheaper and easier all round if we just gave the junkies medical grade heroin. It is a cheap drug to produce if you do it at industrial scales and there is a company in the UK that does just that – processing opium into medical grade heroin for medical use. I wonder how much the countries house insurance bill would be reduced by such a policy? Does anyone know?

  4. I’m a foodbanksceptic, and here’s why:

    Where are all the skinny poor people?

    How can we simultaneously have: a) huge numbers of people who “can’t afford” food; and b) an “obesity crisis”?

    Some people do genuinely find themselves in temporary difficulties where food banks help bridge the gap between losing a job and getting benefits or a new job.

    But… hasn’t this always been the case?

    My theory is, in a society where a large percentage of the population has been conditioned to shamelessly put their hands out for free stuff, food banks have become just another benefit that chavs expect.

    We’re supposed to believe Britain is a place of terrifying inequality, yet our “poor” waddle around carrying enough body fat to feed a family of Papua New Guinean cannibals for a month, and can afford booze, smokes, designer trainers, smartphones and Sky telly.

    Bring back the workhouses!

  5. @Steve

    How well do these fat Chavs burn? Isn’t biofuel considered a form of green energy?

    Perhaps we can do our bit to help the environment out.

  6. salamander – How well do these fat Chavs burn?

    Not very. The fumes smell like KFC, WKD and tattoo ink.

    The only fair, humane and socially just solution is to relocate them to grouse moors and hunt them for sport.

  7. Steve

    The big thing you’re missing is benefits sanctions. In the scheme of things, that’s apparently more common than the gap between job ending and benefits for the majority of foodbankees.

  8. “The only fair, humane and socially just solution is to relocate them to grouse moors and hunt them for sport.”

    That’s not very fair. What about the poor dogs (retrieving)?

  9. Everybody’s enjoying unparalleled levels of prosperity in the UK
    with well affordable levels being taken for rents and mortgages and real wages rising with everybody able to find good well-paying work in areas they can move to, if necessary, accommodation being so cheap in areas, like the SE ,where there’s work. It’s called the Invisible Hand don’cha know.

  10. How can we simultaneously have: a) huge numbers of people who “can’t afford” food; and b) an “obesity crisis”?

    Because there is room in a population of tens of millions to have both.

  11. “There’s this sort of leakage in any system of welfare, whether charitable or State.”

    And that’s why the State should stay out of the charity business.

  12. @ukliberty, true with millions of people, there can be both obese and poverty stricken people who are not one and the same. However, whenever pictures are shown of people visting food banks, how come I never see starving people, just well fed people who might have missed the odd meal* and more likely fucked up their finances.

    * Heck, I sometimes miss a meal some days. I even know of someone who never eats lunch.

  13. “Because there is room in a population of tens of millions to have both.”

    But where are the poor skinnies? The emaciated bin divers who can’t get 2000 calories a day? Whenever we get shown some poverty porn by the Guardian or the BBC to demonstrate the awful effects of the Evil Tory™ austerity on the welfare claiming classes they always seem to be quite portly folk. If there were some poster children for the starving masses I’m pretty sure they would have been plastered all over the media by now.

  14. @ MyBurningEars
    I had read that 40% of those attending food banks did so due to administrative delays and/or errors in benefit payments, not benefit sanctions.

  15. Why do the foodbankers look plump? Because the food handed out by the Trussell Trust is low on protein and high on fattening stuff – 16 items (excluding instant coffee/teabags), eight of which I do not eat simply because they are just “empty calories” (I woudn’t eat/drink half the others, either).
    So what ukliberty said plus *food banks make people fatter*
    @ Jim
    They are both thinner in the face than Ms Proudman.

  16. @john77, there is not such thing as empty calories. Calories are calories no matter what the source of food is. Nannying fussbuckets have come up with the term to try and classify good food from bad food according their whims. All food is good, only quantity is bad (as in too much or too little). Accepting the language of food fascists means you are partially accepting their arguments. Best to ignore such corrupt definitions of words and stick to the science/facts.

  17. Reed–you are the king of bizarre non-sequitur shite.

    How many times? Does it have to be tatoo’d on your arse?


    We live in a corporate socialist shithole where the state controls or at least massively meddles in everything. The money, the interest rates, who you can/t hire at what rates, under what conditions. The Invisible Hand has been all but smashed with a fucking sledgehammer. The miracle is that even in a battered, fucked-over state it still manages to produce the wealth that the political/bureaucratic shite seize and waste with such abandon.

    If you want to whine about the problems of arseociety get in touch with your political and “public sector” buddies and waste their time.

  18. salamander: ‘I wonder if it would be cheaper and easier all round if we just gave the junkies medical grade heroin.’

    About a pint of it i.v. should suffice…

  19. “Adrian Curtis, of the Trussell Trust, said: ‘Incidents such as this are extremely rare.”

    How rare (as a percentage)? And how did you work that out?

    The foodbank system is very much open to abuse. When it started bubbling up in the news, they spoke about how only teachers, doctors and social workers could hand over a voucher. People did some digging and found it was also the citizen’s advice bureaus, churches and cafes run by lefties. People who don’t know you from Adam and may even like giving out a voucher for political ends.

    See, I won’t give them a thing until they actually do some research, measure the scale of abuse and seek to tackle it. That’s what any charity with a sincere aim of getting food to desperate people would do. The seeming lack of will to do this suggests that the whole thing is a political organisation aimed at fuelling anti-Tory propaganda.

  20. @ SadButMadLad
    The concept of empty calories pre-dates the existence of food fascists. – I was dieting to eat healthily but without putting on weight in the mid-sixties. Using a term which they have adopted – *not* created – does not mean I have adopted their arguments.
    I want to enjoy my food without either suffering vitamin/mineral deficiencies or getting so fat that it is uncomfortable so I aim to balance, over a reasonable period, calorie intake with calories burnt. I can have a steak with mushrooms, carrots and peas for the same calorific content as a sponge pudding, so I do.

  21. So 3 days food, up to 3 times a year?
    Its a sticking plaster one size fits all, not resolving benefits issues or hunger.
    Its 1/40th of what people need. Max.
    The franchise itself states that the average use is twice a year. So average is 1/60th of whats needed!

  22. @ Martin Davies
    I thinks that it is *supposed* to be a sticking plaster for short-term need (such as DWP failing to pay benefits ).

  23. We should give a big ‘thumbs up’ to the Trussell Trust and similar organisations.
    They really are a quite small charity ( annual report shows t/o less than 5m GBP a year ) and give much better value than food banks in the rest of the EU which are typically getting EU funding and around 4 times more costly if we’re judging the food parcels to turnover ratio.
    This year they have trialled a fuel bank , because they know that one major gripe of their clients is they can’t afford to cook food once they’ve got it.
    Dependency party supporters don’t have this grass-roots appreciation of what the potless actually need, it takes free-market philanthropy to come up with it. You could do a lot worse with your charitable giving.

    I like the salamander suggestion of giving addicts heroine they need. Maybe we could licence not-for-profits, charities or housing associations perhaps, to run this service, and damn if there’s some leakage and suspiciously large numbers of addicts volunteering to work for them for less than altruistic reasons.

  24. @john77, Empty calories is not the same thing as vitamins/minerals. That’s more a factor of having a balanced diet, which is sounds like you were having.

  25. In today’s newspaper I see that North Korea has a similar leakage problem.

    They fabricate drugs to sell for hard currency. But not all the drugs are exported and now N Korea has a heroin problem.

  26. salamander: ‘I wonder if it would be cheaper and easier all round if we just gave the junkies medical grade heroin.’

    NO NO NO! Keep the damn government out of it! Just don’t make it illegal, and the price will drop to where anyone could afford it. It would be a cheap product if the government weren’t helping. In fact, it would probably go away, as there would be no money to be made anymore.

  27. Gamecock,

    There would still be money to be made, because there’s demand. The high price today is mostly about costs – everyone that gets involved in it is trading risk of imprisonment for money. Without that, it’s just a good that gets grown, processed and shipped, like coffee or nutmeg. And you’d eliminate waste. Instead of people smuggling a few kilos in a suitcase, you’d have Eddie Stobart trucks shipping artic loads of smack to a Waitrose distribution centre. And the driver would be paid like he was shipping coffee rather than a huge premium. And instead of spending money on guys with baseball bats to expand their market, retailers would spend a fraction of that on marketing.

  28. John77, the benefits system tends to have delays bigger than 9 days.
    Sanctions can be as much as 12 months, a month is common.

    Used to work with homeless, not uncommon to have 3 weeks before getting money. Had a pensioner on the streets, 5 years without pension. Pretty sure he never used a foodbank in his life.

    Foodbanks have been around for decades. You would think the simple solution is speed up benefit money.

  29. @ Martin Davies
    21 months for approval of an ESA claim for a lad who had been on DLA since early childhood … That included multiple cases of DWP losing forms which had been hand-delivered to the local Jobcentre or sent “recorded delivery”.
    I wonder on whose side are the DWP bureaucrats.
    But foodbanks *can* help with the impact of a single week’s delay or the loss of income when the bread-winner is off sick for two or three days.

  30. 21 months? Not that uncommon what with appeals etc.
    Back when I were a lad in the 1980s my parents used to access the foodbank service ran then the EU butter mountain etc given away.
    Late 80s the local Sunday evening soup and sandwiches for the homeless used to get tourists – referred by their B&B places.

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