Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Britain's hunger , an amazing look into Hungry Brits in the 21st century!

In 2000 while fundraising for orphans in Bulgaria, the charity worker Paddy Henderson received a call from a local woman in Salisbury, who said: "My children are going to bed hungry tonight – what are you going to do about it?" Subsequent research led Paddy to believe that significant numbers of Britons would sometimes face periods of hunger at times of personal crisis. This led Paddy and his wife Carol to refocus their charity, The Trussell Trust, into a food bank network. The UK's first food bank went operational in 2000, running from the Henderson's garden shed. By 2004 a second food bank had opened. However, this attracted little media attention at the time - before the financial crisis of 2008 even the concept of "food banks" was virtually unknown in the UK, as opposed to in neighbouring France and Germany (see Comparison to other countries).
Chronic hunger has affected a sizable proportion of the UK's population throughout most of its history. Hunger became less of a political issue in the second half of the twentieth century. However, food bank use started to grow in the 2000s, and has dramatically expanded. In December 2013, according to a group of Doctors and academics writing in The British Medical Journal, hunger in the UK had reached the level of a "public health emergency". The rise has been blamed on the 2008 recession as well as the austerity measures implemented afterwards. However, the OECD found that people answering yes to the question ‘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?’ decreased from 9.8% in 2007 to 8.1% in 2012, leading some to say that the rise was due to both more awareness of food banks, and the government allowing Jobcentres to refer people to food banks when they were hungry (the previous Labour government had not allowed this). Further evidence that increasing food bank reliance is directly related to the U.K. government’s welfare reforms can be found in the "Food Bank Provision Welfare Reform in the U.K." report produced by the University of Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI). The report, based on a three-year study of the growth of nationally coordinated or facilitated emergency food provision in the U.K., sought to develop an understanding of the “evolving boundaries of responsibility for welfare provision between state and civil society.” A popular view within the UK is that Britons are relatively generous with regards to helping others alleviate poverty and hunger. There are numerous surveys that suggest this is at least partially true, but it was not always the case. In the 19th century, the UK became the world's first country where a view became dominant that it is best to leave the hungry to fend for themselves. Up until the late 18th century, the attitude towards hunger was similar to that found else where: that hunger is something which affluent people should seek to relieve when they have the means available, but also that famine is not something that societies can be expected to avoid or overcome. Within Christendom, famines were sometimes even seen as divine punishments. Towards the end of the 18th century, improvements in technology, the economy, and bureaucratic procedures were laying the foundation for what would eventually emerge as the nation state. Some, such as prime minister Lord Pitt, took the view that the State should use its growing power to intervene against hunger. Others, such as liberal economists like Adam Smith took the view that government intervention would be counter productive; that in the long run only the free market could produce sustained plenty for all. Other very different but allied views for opposing hunger relief which arose in the late 18th century included Malthus's position that starvation was the only reliable way to check run away population growth, and Townsend's view that hunger was a useful motivational condition, which taught "decency and civility, obedience and subjection, to the most brutish, the most obstinate, and the most perverse." The growing movement against hunger relief was supported even by some evangelical Christians, who had come to view hunger as evidence of punishment for sin, with the hungry best left to redeem themselves through their own hard work. Until the early 1830s, Lord Pitt and others who favored government intervention largely retained control over policy, even if they had to compromise with those who opposed generous relief measures. To shed further light on Britain’s growing food poverty and emergency food aid provision, I spoke to members of Manchester Central Food bank, a Christian charity affiliated with the Trussell Trust. Started by students in 2013, the food bank takes a holistic approach to food handouts and acts as a "stepping stone" by referring individuals to other organizations that can offer them additional support.
One example is 28-year-old Shauna Gaunlett, from Dundee, Scotland, who was forced to ask a local food bank for food when benefit officials stopped her jobseekers payments. Gaunlett was waiting to start a new job as a care assistant, but the routine checks required to begin the job took nine weeks to arrange. During that time, job center officials assumed Shauna had stopped looking for work, and stopped her payments. Penniless for weeks, Shauna had to rely on food banks to feed herself. Mason also reported that a reason even people in work or on full benefits are often needing emergency food is debt; in particular due to the sophisticated tactics now being used by door to door lenders, where borrowers come to think of the credit company agent as a personal friend and so will make sacrifices in order to make repayments. In October 2012, as part of the BBC documentary Britain's hidden hunger, director David Modell highlighted the way in which internet based loan providers can also cause people to go hungry. Their contracts sometimes allow them to take out the entire balance from their debtors accounts, at a time of their choosing. Sometimes this happens just after a benefit payment had gone in, meaning the recipient may not have any money to buy food for at least a week. It's appalling that people do not have enough food.. In the 21st century, no one should be hungry or homeless! All over the world people are starving! WHY! (politics, greed,wars, the list is long) If you ever see any charities collecting for food.. just one item from everyone, helps.. ALOT :) All information gathered for this blog, has been from random web searches.

10 comments:

  1. A very interesting blog. The UK has no idea that the EU has been better for them. Farmers have help, roads get done etc. The big corps pay a pittance to its workers, and they go hungry with it. Shameful really.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The job center, dont really give a monkeys, they have their food and homes, so we are all just numbers to them, case loads etc.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There are many uneducated folk in the UK, they blame all ILLs on the migrants, which is false, its the politics that have bought our country to its knees! Thatcher was the worst.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes Mrs Thatcher did a lot of damage unfortunately.

      Delete
  4. Food banks up 400% since the Tories came into power yet the PM couldn't tell Paxman last year how many there were during the elections! FFS

    ReplyDelete
  5. A real eye opener, isn't it about time we "society" decided how we would like the members of that "society", ourselves to be treated. Even many of those who believe themselves to be affluent are often only a salary payment or two away from joining a food bank queue?

    ReplyDelete
  6. The governments want us peasants and ignorant.

    ReplyDelete
  7. well written, it is an utter shame that we have this in the 21st century!

    ReplyDelete
  8. With what governments spend of weapons, they could feed everyone!

    ReplyDelete