Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Good Banks

It's a bitter irony that the places that feed the poorest bear the same name as the places that feed the richest. There are the banks whose sclerotic, selfish, unregulated growth ended in 2008 in a massive infarction. And the banks - the food banks - that picked up the splattered remains of society and put food on their plates.

Scotland's food banks, according to today's report by The Trussell Trust in The National, fed 117,689 people in 2014-5, one third of them (36,114) children. The numbers give a clear picture of how poverty happens: people on low income account for 21 per cent of those using Trussell Trust food banks in Scotland, with 28 per cent using them due to a benefit delay and 17 per cent due to a benefit change. 

Britain's low-wage zero hours culture, and our overloaded benefits system are starving people.

The 36,114 children - that is the equivalent of 106 schools of children, all going to the food banks [1] for three days of emergency supplies - are the worst part of this story. Because they are likely to grow up in deprivation, and in turn be poor as adults. This is the cycle of poverty that we must break.

The finance industry spent £93m lobbying Westminster in 2012 (latest figures available): they spent, in other words, £27 on lobbying for each £1 donated to the Trussell Trust for food banks in the UK.

We can't break the food bank tragedy in a Scotland ruled by the bankers of the City and their mates in Westminster.

It is time to divert the gravy train from the banks, to the food banks.

1 Calculation based on numbers of pupils and schools at

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