Lord Freud, food poverty is not a lifestyle choice!

The cold cruelty of Tory ministers

Lord Freud, who’s probably never gone without anything is his life, suggests that the increase in people using food banks has little to do with cuts in benefits, poverty and the effects of austerity; instead he says people take free food from food banks because it’s available, as if it were some sort of lifestyle choice. Tell that to the estimated one in four parents in Wales who it is reported this week have had to skip meals in order to feed their kids reported in the South Wales Evening Post.

The students union at Swansea Metropolitan University hit the headlines earlier this year when they set up a food bank for hard-up students. Now there are three food banks operating in Swansea. In the year to April they provided food for 2,300 people. Research by organisations involved in the National Food Collection, Tesco, the Trussell Trust which runs foodbanks and the charity Fareshare, shows 24% of people in Wales are in food poverty.

With the end of the school year fast approaching, it’s feared that increasing numbers of children will not be getting the food they need because at least during term time there is help for hard-up parents in the form of breakfast clubs and free lunches in school.

Food banks rely on donations which come in the main from working class people; those on the breadline give the very little they’ve got to feed the absolutely desperate. What does it say about the system we live under that thousands of people in a small city like Swansea have to rely on food banks and that there are children who won’t get the nutrition they need during the school holidays?

Multinational food retailers like Tesco are part of the problem too determining what's produced, by whom and, crucially, how much it's sold for. Like everything else produced under capitalism, food production and distribution is organised to generate profit and only a socialist plan of production would be able to eliminate the need for food banks and provide all families and their children with the food and nutrition they desperately need.

Ronnie Job


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