The thing is, I just don’t believe them.
Austerity is often compared to a household budget by the economically illiterate: akin to belt-tightening in the short term, or even dieting for a planned holiday. But both analogies suggest an end in sight: growing up in poverty has no end goal, it’s simply ceaseless misery for children and adults alike. Going hungry affects children’s education, life chances, and even physical development: that alone should be an impetus to stamp it outin a purportedly developed country.
But hunger is greater than that, and will have a huge long-term effect on a generation. Poverty is psychological violence, and it is being inflicted on children on a mass scale, and will be forged in the memory of millions of citizens. Growing up poor robs people of their childhoods, damages confidence and self-worth, and has an irreparable effect on families. Teachers have told me of six-year-old children fainting in classrooms from hunger, and being forced to provide breakfast and even supper clubs because parents are hit by sanctions, the bedroom tax, and exorbitant rents.
I’ve no doubt there are instances of all of the above. There are parents who murder their own children too. But that’s also extremely uncommon, as these stories of actual starvation are, I’m sure. But more hunger than there was 20 years ago? 50? Simply do not believe them.
Quite apart fro anything else those food banks alleviate hunger, they’re not evidence of it going unalleviated, are they?