YESTERDAY at Prime Ministers Question, David Cameron fielded a number of questions around the countries economic growth and the issue affecting millions in the UK of the affordability of food, the use of food banks and food waste. It is estimated that almost 50% of the food bought in the UK is thrown away, with Love Food, Hate waste website stating that of the 7million tonnes of food and drink thrown away, over half of it could have been eaten, whilst some are arrested for taking these food items.
David Cameron’s answer to solving the food crises in the UK was that he pledged to reduce taxes so that people might afford to eat, apparently he meant he would ‘give back’ the money he is taking from reducing the size of the state. What has happened in reality is the reduction of the 50% tax rate down to 45%, and this current unelected government have actually lowered the basic threshold for people falling under the 40% tax bracket, further increasing the number of working class people being squeezed to pay for this government and banking institution led recession.
Cameron also pledged to see more people get back to work, reducing the unemployed figures and confirming his party is one for ‘hardworking people’. That is however, if you believe that sitting and watching a phone, waiting for it to ring is work, as is the case for people on zero hour contracts is work? Or those two or three people sharing one job whilst making do on something called the minimum wage is fair? Or the apprentice, earning £2.68 an hour in the hope that once they have completed their time that there will be any work for them at the end. It also transpired this morning that potentially one-third of the jobs advertised on the Universal Jobmatch for government website are fake, which the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are now also investigating to see if 179 employers advertising on the site had breached its rules. You couldn’t make it up. People have to actively seek work on this site by applying for a certain number of jobs a week or face losing their benefits, yet it may appear that 1 in 3 of the half a million employers that have used the site since November 2012 are indeed fake. Some people have had to pay for criminal record checks for jobs that do not exist.
The issue around people going hungry in the UK has been raging for sometime but what we are really talking about is access to resources, people are not going hungry because there is not enough to go around, they are going hungry because they cannot afford these basic requirements and rights they have to life. If the paradigm we live in is to continue then the existence of food banks are a stain on our lives. If we are not so sure about the way things are going, then we should look for alternatives.