“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”
Written more than 170 years ago have times changed?
The report “Feeding Britain” was published this month by the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the UK. It tells of families that are so desperate to avoid being evicted for rent arrears, or the disconnection of their gas or electricity that they go without food, relying on foodbanks to make ends meet.
Over 900,000 adults and children received three days’ emergency food and support from Trussell Trust foodbanks in 2013-14, a 163% rise on numbers helped in the previous financial year. The report calls the attention of politicians from all parties to acknowledge the “simple but devastating fact that hunger stalks this country.”
In response to the report Baroness Anne Jenkin a Conservative Life Peer claimed that poor people are going hungry because they “don’t know how to cook.” Dishing out her own cost-cutting culinary tips to the stunned audience, she boasted: “I had a large bowl of porridge today, which cost 4p. A large bowl of sugary cereals will cost you 25p.”
I believe politicians should do more than preach. I have had the opportunity to engage in the Pay Day Loans Task and Finish Group at Kettering Borough Council and there is action now to help those in need of affordable credit to make ends meet.
I will also be participating at the Kettering Borough Council Housing Conference in January to work for more affordable housing provision for our residents.