Saturday, 29 December 2012

Food banks a national disgrace

The South East is the second richest region in the fifth richest country in the world – yet every district council area in Kent now hosts a food bank.

We have enough wealth and enough food to feed everyone – but we don’t distribute wealth equitably enough. It’s not only people on benefits who use food banks – families with children where only one parent is earning or there is only one parent are struggling too.

Energy bills are rising, the cost of food is rising, but wages are not. This government refuses to enforce a living wage, even though research shows this would be a net gain to the Treasury through reduced benefits bills and increased tax take.

 Even the opposition is only proposing to force firms to pay a living wage if they want to bid for public contracts. Why? Surely decency demands that everyone should be paid a living wage. Why should people work if they can’t feed and house themselves and their families from what they earn?

 We are supposedly a Christian country, I see no Christian principles in allowing people to be forced to work for less than their needs – or even worse, to work as unpaid interns because that is the only way they can eventually get a job in many industries (if they are lucky). We have legalised exploitation and created Victorian levels of poverty. TB and rickets are making a comeback. Is this really the country we want? We should be ashamed of ourselves – and of a government which allows this to happen.

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