It should be a cause of national shame that in a country boasting 100 billionaires, more than one million people go to food banks. A situation that can hardly be said to be for the common good.
The proliferation of foodbanks is something that has really taken off over the past five years. Prior to the last election in April 2010, there were 54 foodbanks being attended by 41,000 people, today there are more than 1,000,000 people going to 400 plus foodbanks, according to the Trussell Trust which runs the network of foodbanks.
The main causes of people going to foodbanks are low pay and benefit sanctions, according to the Trussell Trust.
So what is needed is for a redistribution of wealth in our society. It is not only morally wrong for the polarization of wealth to continue in the present fashion, with a few rich people getting ever richer whilst the poor scrape by, seeking support from foodbanks. It will not be a safe environment for the billionaires in the long term either if they continue to accumulate wealth to the cost of the many.
What is needed is not more zero hours low paid contracts and foodbanks but a living wage for all, with minimum terms and conditions brought in across the board so that people cannot be undercut in what has been the relentless race to the bottom of recent years.
Stronger trade unions would also see more wealth flowing to those who produce the goods in the first place. These are minor steps but with others, such as higher taxes on those earning most, would see a more cohesive society created dedicated to the common good of all.
*Ilford Recorder - 30/4/2015
*Wanstead and Woodford Guardian - 30/4/2015