Minister accuses food banks of 'scaremongering'

Wirral Globe: Iain Duncan Smith criticised the "political messaging" of the organisation Iain Duncan Smith criticised the "political messaging" of the organisation

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has refused requests to meet the leaders of a major food bank charity and accused them of "scaremongering", it has emerged.

The Conservative cabinet minister told the Trussell Trust – which operates Wirral’s food bank warehouse collection and distribution centre in Birkenhead - that he denied claims benefits reforms were linked to the rocketing number of people turning to it for help and suggested the organisation was political.

Since April, more than 500,000 people, of which one-third are children, have received emergency supplies from the 400 food banks run by the Trussell Trust charity and it has asked on a number of occasions for meetings with Department for Work and Pensions ministers.

But Mr Duncan Smith criticised the "political messaging of your organisation", which "despite claiming to be non-partisan" had "repeatedly sought to link the growth in your network to welfare reform", according to the Observer.

"I strongly refute this claim and would politely ask you to stop scaremongering in this way," he said in the letter.

"I understand that a feature of your business model must require you to continuously achieve publicity, but I'm concerned that you are now seeking to do this by making your political opposition to welfare reform overtly clear."

Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies is a trustee of the borough's food bank. He told the Globe: "Iain Duncan Smith's comments beggar belief.

"Food banks are now just a part of life, particularly in the North.

"In no way, shape or form is the Trussell Trust trying to score political points.

"The people who help distribute the food, certainly in Wirral, by and large are from local churches; people who genuinely feel sorry for their fellow man and want to help out in some way.

"If Duncan Smith or any of his team would care to visit the food bank, they'd discover that people are literally desperate.

"We can't keep pace with demand, which has soared over the last 12 months.

"The Government simply are not living in the real world. They are talking nonsense."

Trust chairman Chris Mould told the Observer: " We are deeply disappointed, but we are as open as ever to meet ministers in the hope that perhaps the new year will bring a fresh approach to what could so easily have been a fruitful dialogue."

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: "The benefits system supports millions of people who are on low incomes or unemployed and there is no robust evidence that welfare reforms are linked to increased use of food banks.

"In fact, our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities with the Universal Credit making three million households better off - the majority of these from the bottom two fifths of the income scale.

"The Trussell Trust itself says it is opening three new food banks every week, so it's not surprising more people are using them. They also agree that awareness has helped to explain their recent growth.

"The Government has taken action to help families with the cost of living, including increasing the tax-free personal allowance to £10,000 which will save a typical taxpayer over £700, freezing council tax for five years and freezing fuel duty."

Comments (10)

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11:06pm Mon 23 Dec 13

Wirralpleb says...

The electorate of Wirral need to wake up.
The Tories with IDS at the helm of Welfare Reform are Hell Bent on targeting the most vulnerable members of society.
May elections loom ahead and we still have the same old same old on offer.
The Labour Group along with the Tory Group blame each other and the LibDems Are Tumbleweed .
My advice is to find a political party that will disrupt the status quo and vote For them.
The professionals Labour and Tory will utilise Postal Voting to achieve their goal to gain a a return to office.Use your FOI requests to establish how many postal votes are cast.In your ward.
The electorate of Wirral need to wake up. The Tories with IDS at the helm of Welfare Reform are Hell Bent on targeting the most vulnerable members of society. May elections loom ahead and we still have the same old same old on offer. The Labour Group along with the Tory Group blame each other and the LibDems Are Tumbleweed . My advice is to find a political party that will disrupt the status quo and vote For them. The professionals Labour and Tory will utilise Postal Voting to achieve their goal to gain a a return to office.Use your FOI requests to establish how many postal votes are cast.In your ward. Wirralpleb

11:19am Tue 24 Dec 13

Joeblogg85 says...

The nasty evil party are at it again. How can a country of this stature have food banks as a growing industry? They should be ashamed of themselves. It's like the depression in America. Their evil policies are forcing people to use the food banks. The Bedroom Tax is one of them and changes in Council Tax another. Shame on you!
The nasty evil party are at it again. How can a country of this stature have food banks as a growing industry? They should be ashamed of themselves. It's like the depression in America. Their evil policies are forcing people to use the food banks. The Bedroom Tax is one of them and changes in Council Tax another. Shame on you! Joeblogg85

1:41pm Fri 27 Dec 13

David Scott says...

Non-political?
"Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies is a trustee of the borough's food bank."
Non-political? "Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil Davies is a trustee of the borough's food bank." David Scott

8:44pm Fri 27 Dec 13

hobroW says...

Cllr Davies cannot be all bad. Involvement in these food banks given his busy timetable as Leader of the Council is highly commendable.

Where most of us disagree with him is his support for council officers who have been caught out and his suppression of past injustices . It seems he believes the ends justify the means and that there are more urgent matters than punishing malefactors from the past. There we disagree because the punishment of the malefactors would demonstrate the bona fides of the administration whereas non-punishment suggests complicity.

All a difficult conundrum for a cash-starved council.
Cllr Davies cannot be all bad. Involvement in these food banks given his busy timetable as Leader of the Council is highly commendable. Where most of us disagree with him is his support for council officers who have been caught out and his suppression of past injustices . It seems he believes the ends justify the means and that there are more urgent matters than punishing malefactors from the past. There we disagree because the punishment of the malefactors would demonstrate the bona fides of the administration whereas non-punishment suggests complicity. All a difficult conundrum for a cash-starved council. hobroW

11:18am Sat 28 Dec 13

uncatom says...

Scaremongering indeed, this from a government who churn out lies and misleading statements on a daily basis ( oh what tangled webs we weave) IDS couldn't take the flak in parliament when his bungled attempts nay attacks on the welfare state were savaged and left Esther Mc Mouth (calm down dear) to throw petrol on the fire, mmm yes scaremongering indeed.
Scaremongering indeed, this from a government who churn out lies and misleading statements on a daily basis ( oh what tangled webs we weave) IDS couldn't take the flak in parliament when his bungled attempts nay attacks on the welfare state were savaged and left Esther Mc Mouth (calm down dear) to throw petrol on the fire, mmm yes scaremongering indeed. uncatom

6:05pm Sat 28 Dec 13

David Scott says...

Another perspective.
http://www.dailymail
.co.uk/debate/articl
e-2530216/PLATELLS-P
EOPLE-A-self-indulge
nt-mother-myth-starv
ing-Britain.html
Another perspective. http://www.dailymail .co.uk/debate/articl e-2530216/PLATELLS-P EOPLE-A-self-indulge nt-mother-myth-starv ing-Britain.html David Scott

11:19am Sun 29 Dec 13

uncatom says...

David Scott wrote:
Another perspective.
http://www.dailymail

.co.uk/debate/articl

e-2530216/PLATELLS-P

EOPLE-A-self-indulge

nt-mother-myth-starv

ing-Britain.html
Yes I've read the article, and as would be expected of the Daily Mail is designed to mislead oops sorry IDS, pick on one family from a very very small percentage of irresponsible families and benefit and sickness abusers ( and yes I agree that some abuse the system) and use that news page to stigmatise all benefit claimants, by the very wording of the article they imply that poverty is none existent because people's expectations are too high, Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory states that BASIC need should be food, drink, warmth and shelter, and yet so many both young and old are being denied these basic rights, and yet the money lenders from the Tory temple are allowing the feckless and uneducated to borrow money that they can't afford to buy things that they don't need, and then beating them with a stick, it is shameful that the Daily Mail has used this family (no doubt with payment) to stigmatise and apportion blame on all benefit claimants, yes scaremongering indeed!
[quote][p][bold]David Scott[/bold] wrote: Another perspective. http://www.dailymail .co.uk/debate/articl e-2530216/PLATELLS-P EOPLE-A-self-indulge nt-mother-myth-starv ing-Britain.html[/p][/quote]Yes I've read the article, and as would be expected of the Daily Mail is designed to mislead oops sorry IDS, pick on one family from a very very small percentage of irresponsible families and benefit and sickness abusers ( and yes I agree that some abuse the system) and use that news page to stigmatise all benefit claimants, by the very wording of the article they imply that poverty is none existent because people's expectations are too high, Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory states that BASIC need should be food, drink, warmth and shelter, and yet so many both young and old are being denied these basic rights, and yet the money lenders from the Tory temple are allowing the feckless and uneducated to borrow money that they can't afford to buy things that they don't need, and then beating them with a stick, it is shameful that the Daily Mail has used this family (no doubt with payment) to stigmatise and apportion blame on all benefit claimants, yes scaremongering indeed! uncatom

11:19am Sun 29 Dec 13

uncatom says...

David Scott wrote:
Another perspective.
http://www.dailymail

.co.uk/debate/articl

e-2530216/PLATELLS-P

EOPLE-A-self-indulge

nt-mother-myth-starv

ing-Britain.html
Yes I've read the article, and as would be expected of the Daily Mail is designed to mislead oops sorry IDS, pick on one family from a very very small percentage of irresponsible families and benefit and sickness abusers ( and yes I agree that some abuse the system) and use that news page to stigmatise all benefit claimants, by the very wording of the article they imply that poverty is none existent because people's expectations are too high, Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory states that BASIC need should be food, drink, warmth and shelter, and yet so many both young and old are being denied these basic rights, and yet the money lenders from the Tory temple are allowing the feckless and uneducated to borrow money that they can't afford to buy things that they don't need, and then beating them with a stick, it is shameful that the Daily Mail has used this family (no doubt with payment) to stigmatise and apportion blame on all benefit claimants, yes scaremongering indeed!
[quote][p][bold]David Scott[/bold] wrote: Another perspective. http://www.dailymail .co.uk/debate/articl e-2530216/PLATELLS-P EOPLE-A-self-indulge nt-mother-myth-starv ing-Britain.html[/p][/quote]Yes I've read the article, and as would be expected of the Daily Mail is designed to mislead oops sorry IDS, pick on one family from a very very small percentage of irresponsible families and benefit and sickness abusers ( and yes I agree that some abuse the system) and use that news page to stigmatise all benefit claimants, by the very wording of the article they imply that poverty is none existent because people's expectations are too high, Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory states that BASIC need should be food, drink, warmth and shelter, and yet so many both young and old are being denied these basic rights, and yet the money lenders from the Tory temple are allowing the feckless and uneducated to borrow money that they can't afford to buy things that they don't need, and then beating them with a stick, it is shameful that the Daily Mail has used this family (no doubt with payment) to stigmatise and apportion blame on all benefit claimants, yes scaremongering indeed! uncatom

7:53pm Sun 29 Dec 13

David Scott says...

uncatom wrote:
David Scott wrote: Another perspective. http://www.dailymail .co.uk/debate/articl e-2530216/PLATELLS-P EOPLE-A-self-indulge nt-mother-myth-starv ing-Britain.html
Yes I've read the article, and as would be expected of the Daily Mail is designed to mislead oops sorry IDS, pick on one family from a very very small percentage of irresponsible families and benefit and sickness abusers ( and yes I agree that some abuse the system) and use that news page to stigmatise all benefit claimants, by the very wording of the article they imply that poverty is none existent because people's expectations are too high, Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory states that BASIC need should be food, drink, warmth and shelter, and yet so many both young and old are being denied these basic rights, and yet the money lenders from the Tory temple are allowing the feckless and uneducated to borrow money that they can't afford to buy things that they don't need, and then beating them with a stick, it is shameful that the Daily Mail has used this family (no doubt with payment) to stigmatise and apportion blame on all benefit claimants, yes scaremongering indeed!
I agree with much that you say. At the same time I am sceptical about food banks as being more than a political gimmick - if people are that desperate in 21st century Britain, they need emergency cash payments and help to get onto a better long-term footing.
[quote][p][bold]uncatom[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]David Scott[/bold] wrote: Another perspective. http://www.dailymail .co.uk/debate/articl e-2530216/PLATELLS-P EOPLE-A-self-indulge nt-mother-myth-starv ing-Britain.html[/p][/quote]Yes I've read the article, and as would be expected of the Daily Mail is designed to mislead oops sorry IDS, pick on one family from a very very small percentage of irresponsible families and benefit and sickness abusers ( and yes I agree that some abuse the system) and use that news page to stigmatise all benefit claimants, by the very wording of the article they imply that poverty is none existent because people's expectations are too high, Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory states that BASIC need should be food, drink, warmth and shelter, and yet so many both young and old are being denied these basic rights, and yet the money lenders from the Tory temple are allowing the feckless and uneducated to borrow money that they can't afford to buy things that they don't need, and then beating them with a stick, it is shameful that the Daily Mail has used this family (no doubt with payment) to stigmatise and apportion blame on all benefit claimants, yes scaremongering indeed![/p][/quote]I agree with much that you say. At the same time I am sceptical about food banks as being more than a political gimmick - if people are that desperate in 21st century Britain, they need emergency cash payments and help to get onto a better long-term footing. David Scott

8:59pm Sun 29 Dec 13

uncatom says...

David Scott wrote:
uncatom wrote:
David Scott wrote: Another perspective. http://www.dailymail .co.uk/debate/articl e-2530216/PLATELLS-P EOPLE-A-self-indulge nt-mother-myth-starv ing-Britain.html
Yes I've read the article, and as would be expected of the Daily Mail is designed to mislead oops sorry IDS, pick on one family from a very very small percentage of irresponsible families and benefit and sickness abusers ( and yes I agree that some abuse the system) and use that news page to stigmatise all benefit claimants, by the very wording of the article they imply that poverty is none existent because people's expectations are too high, Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory states that BASIC need should be food, drink, warmth and shelter, and yet so many both young and old are being denied these basic rights, and yet the money lenders from the Tory temple are allowing the feckless and uneducated to borrow money that they can't afford to buy things that they don't need, and then beating them with a stick, it is shameful that the Daily Mail has used this family (no doubt with payment) to stigmatise and apportion blame on all benefit claimants, yes scaremongering indeed!
I agree with much that you say. At the same time I am sceptical about food banks as being more than a political gimmick - if people are that desperate in 21st century Britain, they need emergency cash payments and help to get onto a better long-term footing.
Very true , however people can't get emergency cash payments, some can't even access the payments they should receive because of the bungled system, and to take up on your words of people being desperate in the 21st century this being the seventh richest country in the world says it all.

The true abusers of the system are those that purport to govern us (of all parties) they see fit to abuse the system through tax evasion and expenses fiddles, but are happy to condemn those less fortunate.
[quote][p][bold]David Scott[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]uncatom[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]David Scott[/bold] wrote: Another perspective. http://www.dailymail .co.uk/debate/articl e-2530216/PLATELLS-P EOPLE-A-self-indulge nt-mother-myth-starv ing-Britain.html[/p][/quote]Yes I've read the article, and as would be expected of the Daily Mail is designed to mislead oops sorry IDS, pick on one family from a very very small percentage of irresponsible families and benefit and sickness abusers ( and yes I agree that some abuse the system) and use that news page to stigmatise all benefit claimants, by the very wording of the article they imply that poverty is none existent because people's expectations are too high, Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory states that BASIC need should be food, drink, warmth and shelter, and yet so many both young and old are being denied these basic rights, and yet the money lenders from the Tory temple are allowing the feckless and uneducated to borrow money that they can't afford to buy things that they don't need, and then beating them with a stick, it is shameful that the Daily Mail has used this family (no doubt with payment) to stigmatise and apportion blame on all benefit claimants, yes scaremongering indeed![/p][/quote]I agree with much that you say. At the same time I am sceptical about food banks as being more than a political gimmick - if people are that desperate in 21st century Britain, they need emergency cash payments and help to get onto a better long-term footing.[/p][/quote]Very true , however people can't get emergency cash payments, some can't even access the payments they should receive because of the bungled system, and to take up on your words of people being desperate in the 21st century this being the seventh richest country in the world says it all. The true abusers of the system are those that purport to govern us (of all parties) they see fit to abuse the system through tax evasion and expenses fiddles, but are happy to condemn those less fortunate. uncatom

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