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Some senior Tories have dismissed the problem, with Lord Freud claiming in June that families using food banks were simply after free meals, while Education Secretary Michael Gove said last month that users were often those who could not manage their finances properly.
on the basis of “strong evidence of an increased need for support on food poverty issues”
Welfare cuts and the economic downturn send soaring numbers of people to soup kitchens and food banks across Europe
The Red Cross will this winter start collecting and distributing food aid to the needy in Britain for the first time since the Second World War, as welfare cuts and the economic downturn send soaring numbers of people to soup kitchens and food banks across Europe...
With winter approaching and fuel bills expected to rise, charities are struggling to meet the demand, and FareShare asked the Red Cross to step in. Juliet Mountford, the Red Cross head of UK Service Development, said they agreed to assist FareShare on the basis of “strong evidence of an increased need for support on food poverty issues”...
Chris Johnes, the UK poverty director for Oxfam, said he was “genuinely shocked” that the situation had got so dire that the Red Cross needed to step in. “They don’t do things for reasons of grandstanding at all,” he told The Independent. “The fact that they are doing this... is a very clear signal how serious things have become.”
Canada has food banks. It's a good idea, I don't see what's so bad about it?
NHS in turmoil
Having to pay for treatment & prescriptions
Agency work so no-one has security of employment
Unable to find dentists
Up to 6 week waiting for a routine doctor's appointment
People on the streets
Women turning to prostitution
Charities unable to cope with demand
The Conservative party openly offers donors the opportunity to attend dinners and other events with David Cameron and senior Tory figures.
Its website invites supporters to join one of its "donor clubs", each with different benefits. They include: • The Leader's Group (annual membership £50,000), described as the "premier supporter group" of the Conservative party, with members "invited to join David Cameron and other senior figures at dinners, post-PMQ lunches, drinks receptions, election result events and important campaign launches".
• The Treasurers' Group (£25,000), whose members are "invited to join senior figures from the Conservative party at dinners, lunches, drinks receptions, election result events and important campaign launches".
• The Renaissance Forum (£10,000), pitched at the party's "closest supporters to enjoy dinners and political debate with eminent speakers from the world of business and politics".
• The Front Bench Club (£5,000), whose members are given "the opportunity to meet and debate with MPs at a series of political lunches and receptions held throughout the year".
• The City and Entrepreneurs Forum (£2,500), aimed at professionals, executives and entrepreneurs to hold "discussions with leading industrialists, parliamentarians and prominent City figures".
• Team 2000 (£2,000): "The principal group of donors who support and market the party's policies in government, by hearing them first hand from the leader and key Conservative politicians through a lively programme of drinks receptions, dinner and discussion groups".
• Fastrack (£250), for young professionals under 40 to attend networking and social events, with events hosted by "key figures in politics, business, industry, the arts and beyond".
• Party Patrons (£50 a month), for "committed Conservative supporters" who are prepared to support campaigning.
The rising number of people relying on food banks in the UK is a "damning indictment" of the government's record in office, Labour has said.
Shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle told MPs more than 500,000 people - a third of them children - have relied on food banks provided by the Trussell Trust since April 2013, which she said was double the number recorded this time last year.
The majority of people using them were "working-age families", she continued, claiming that 19% had been forced to turn to them as a result of the government's welfare reforms.
"It's a scandal, and it is getting worse," Ms Eagle declared, as she opened the opposition debate on 18 December 2013.
MPs divided along party lines as to the reasons for the increase in food banks, with Labour blaming it on the government's welfare reforms and Conservative MPs attributing it to the economic climate after the financial crash on Labour's watch.
Labour's motion calling on the government to "bring forward measures to reduce dependency on food banks", was defeated in a vote by 294 to 251, a reduced government majority of 43.