Man benefits enormously from being a social animal. Division of labour, markets and capitalism have allowed us to build an amazingly prosperous modern society. A part of this is our obligation to our fellow man, especially those who are unable to work through disability or who are temporarily out of work through no fault of their own. An obligation which was easily and informally met when we lived in rural village communities. This broke down with industrialisation and urbanisation, but was restored by campaigners such as Charles Dickens, Sir Titus Salt, William Booth, Robert Owen and William Wilberforce. After WW2 the state took responsibility with the abysmal welfare state, a system under which work and contributing to society is optional. Anyone is allowed to become a welfare dependent, parasitic on others, so many do.
Foodbanks are a return to the world before the welfare state. They are capitalism and libertarianism at work. So they are incredibly successful. However how much of what they do is actually necessary is a very mute point. Let’s analyse the situation:
- Dependency culture and deliberate long term unemployment by a very large feckless underclass is a feature of our society. Benefits intended for short term help between jobs are now seen as income for a lifetime. And those benefits are excessively generous. Families totally dependent on benefits are materially better off than a doctor or accountant was when I was young.
- We have many safety nets for people who drop out through the bottom of the main benefits system. Short term benefits advance. Council local welfare assistance schemes. Interest-free loan from Jobcentre Plus. Discretionary housing payments. Credit unions. Crisis loan and community care grant. Charities such as Shelter. And very many more. Your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau will maximise your income from these. Local councils have a statutory duty to house and care for people.
- People should not have babies unless they can afford them. However in our welfare state babies are cash cows, they are a ticket to lots of other people’s money and an improved lifestyle. So there is huge economic pressure on the feckless to breed. More babies = more money.
- Food is incredibly inexpensive if you buy ingredients such as carrots, potatoes, cabbage and cheap cuts of meat. The problem nowadays is that very many households do not know what to do with these. The removal of domestic science from schooling means we now have a high percentage of our population going through life only eating expensive junk. Yet high quality food can be prepared for very little money, as these recipes prove. A bowl of porridge costs 4p. When I was impoverished from building my business I very often had a can of budget baked beans as a meal. 26p in today’s money.
- Smoking cigarettes costs more than feeding a family of four. 20 budget cigarettes cost £7. A proper main meal can be cooked for 60 to 80 pence per head. A very good main meal indeed can be cooked for £1 per head.
- The Trussell Trust gave 913,138 people 3 days emergency food in 2013/4. This is an excellent allocation of society’s resources and has to be commended. However it is blatantly obvious that the vast majority of recipients are using this to add to their family income and improve their lifestyle. Only a small number are in genuine need and there are many other safety nets available. However the genuine recipients can still be trotted out for marketing purposes.
- Foodbanks free up cash in a family that is then used for cigarettes, booze, drugs, Sky TV, smartphones, the lottery, Primark, high stakes gaming machines, tattoos etc etc. This is the reality.
- Foodbanks are free. This very obviously creates immense demand. If one pub in a town gave away free beer then all the other pubs would be empty.
- Trussell have 27,000 “care professionals” who can just give away foodbank vouchers to anyone they want, with no cost to themselves. So there is no real barrier to getting free food other than asking for it. It would be very interesting to see how many people are turned down for these vouchers. You can guess.
- Who do Trussell say receives their free food (in other words, which box has been ticked). Benefit delays 31%, low income 20%, benefit changes 17%, “other” 10%, debt 8%, then unemployment, homelessness, domestic violence, sickness, delayed wages, child holidays etc in small percentages. Refused short term benefits advance is just 0.64% and refused crisis loan just 0.5%.
- The whole foodbank system is supply led, not demand led. They receive donations of food and give away all that they receive, so if they get more donations they can just move the goalposts to make sure there are more “needy” people to give them to. So blaming benefit cuts for more people using food banks is a lie. The reason they have more to give away is increased marketing and the generosity of the British public increasing their supply.
- Any economist will tell you that foodbanks work as a disincentive for unemployed people to return to gainful contribution in society.
Whatever it’s shortcomings the foodbank system is vastly superior to the welfare state. It costs the taxpayers nothing and is incredibly efficient, the exact opposite to our benefits system. This is to be encouraged. In fact it is so vastly superior that we should just give the whole jobless welfare system to the Trussell Trust. This would save the taxpayer billions.
Finally we have the God botherers in on the act trying to ruin this fantastic system. Justin Welby wants the government to give money to foodbanks. He is an idiot and utterly out of his mind. With state money comes parasitic civil servants, bureaucracy, inefficiency and all the other horrendous ills of socialism. Everything that the state does it does badly, so the less state the better. Cameron must tell him to take a hike. The church can give some of its fabulous wealth if it thinks that the cause is so deserving.