Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Welcome support for food banks but I have concerns

We ended the 2013 Parliamentary session with a variety of interesting and relevant debates and while one of the few drawbacks of my new job is that I am not allowed to speak at length in the Chamber, I do get to listen to long stretches of proceedings.

The growth in the use of food banks which we debated on Wednesday was particularly interesting, although made far too partisan by an opposition determined to cynically hijack the valuable work of excellent organisations for political ends – and as food bank usage rose ten-fold under Labour even during the “boom” years, their shouting sounds a little hollow.

We have had food banks operating across the UK for decades, operated on a small scale and in many cases supported by different churches, (and. in a way, the typical harvest festival collection is a community food bank scheme) but more recently these efforts have become unified and professionalised and for that we have to thank the excellent Trussell Trust based in Salisbury that is the leading charity in this area and the one that has helped our outstanding local organisation, the Devizes and Marlborough Food Bank.

I always support food collection drives whenever I see them and it is wonderful to see so many people and so many local businesses being so generous with donations, meaning that the supply of foodstuffs has increased and there have also been welcome government policy changes since the election to make it easier for people to hear about and access the services – Job Centres can now alert people signing on to the existence of local food banks and therefore ensure that they get the referral vouchers required to access the service – something the last government refused to do.

It is also heartening to learn that 92 per cent of benefits are now paid on time; up six per cent since 2010 as one of the main drivers of use of food banks is delay and disarray in benefit payments. But, it does make me uneasy that at a time when the economy is recovering sharply, unemployment locally is tumbling (down 20 per cent since last November) and the organisation crisis loans has been devolved to local authorities and can now be agreed on the same day, more people are accessing emergency food supplies – especially in the run up to Christmas.

I am going to be quietly working in our local centre in the Christmas week and am looking forward to hearing more about what they do – and what more I can do to help.

Comments (5)

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1:14pm Thu 19 Dec 13

kimcrawley says...

So on the one hand the economic crisis was caused by labour overspending on welfare. At the same time food bank usage rose tenfold because of labour.
Nothing to do with the bedroom tax and reduction in tax credits or slashing of other benefits Cameron et al keep bragging about.
Complaining about a partisan debate and then making a cheap political point - 'It's all labour's fault.' Who has been in government making the cuts, labour?
So on the one hand the economic crisis was caused by labour overspending on welfare. At the same time food bank usage rose tenfold because of labour. Nothing to do with the bedroom tax and reduction in tax credits or slashing of other benefits Cameron et al keep bragging about. Complaining about a partisan debate and then making a cheap political point - 'It's all labour's fault.' Who has been in government making the cuts, labour? kimcrawley

4:42pm Thu 19 Dec 13

mbohan says...

The problem is Claire, that this poverty is not something the wealthy in Wiltshire any any longer afford to ignore. We were asked on the doorstep of Waitrose in Marlborough to donate to food banks just last weekend. How desperate have things gotten that a predominantly middle-class county now relies on such things. And to think there are many many more impoverished places to live in the UK, it's difficult to imagine the full scale of the problem.

The truth is that not one MP or their families that took part in this weeks debate will go hungry this Christmas, but millions of others will. If only those people could afford to laugh hunger off in such a buffoon like fashion with which MP's behave in Parliament.

Though I do hope you and your ministerial colleagues enjoy whatever obscene culinary extravagance you tuck into this Christmas (I expect you can probably claim the bill back on expenses), perhaps you will spare a thought for those going without.
The problem is Claire, that this poverty is not something the wealthy in Wiltshire any any longer afford to ignore. We were asked on the doorstep of Waitrose in Marlborough to donate to food banks just last weekend. How desperate have things gotten that a predominantly middle-class county now relies on such things. And to think there are many many more impoverished places to live in the UK, it's difficult to imagine the full scale of the problem. The truth is that not one MP or their families that took part in this weeks debate will go hungry this Christmas, but millions of others will. If only those people could afford to laugh hunger off in such a buffoon like fashion with which MP's behave in Parliament. Though I do hope you and your ministerial colleagues enjoy whatever obscene culinary extravagance you tuck into this Christmas (I expect you can probably claim the bill back on expenses), perhaps you will spare a thought for those going without. mbohan

9:57am Fri 20 Dec 13

sir roy.orbit of chippenham says...

"one of the few drawbacks of my new job is that I am not allowed to speak at length in the Chamber"

--------

That's why they gave you the job.
"one of the few drawbacks of my new job is that I am not allowed to speak at length in the Chamber" -------- That's why they gave you the job. sir roy.orbit of chippenham

1:04pm Fri 20 Dec 13

sir roy.orbit of chippenham says...

"But, it does make me uneasy that at a time when the economy is recovering sharply, unemployment locally is tumbling (down 20 per cent since last November)"

----------

But Duncan Hames keeps telling us that local employment is on the up and new jobs are everywhere. Perhaps you two could get together and come up with a clear co-alition line as to whether it's up or down.

Duncan says-

It's good to see, in figures released last week, that more and more people in Wiltshire are finding work.

In the Chippenham constituency, the number of Jobseekers has fallen by 284 – more than a fifth – in the last year, including 65 fewer young Jobseekers.

Nationally, the unemployment rate is now down to 7.6 per cent – its lowest since early 2009.

The economy is on the mend, but there is still much more to do.

One million jobs have been created since the election, and Liberal Democrats are working to help businesses create a million more, building a stronger economy in a fairer society.


http://www.thisiswil
tshire.co.uk/archive
/2013/11/22/10822287
.Duncan_Hames__MP_fo
r_Chippenham___Educa
tion_is_the_key_to_g
etting_jobs/
"But, it does make me uneasy that at a time when the economy is recovering sharply, unemployment locally is tumbling (down 20 per cent since last November)" ---------- But Duncan Hames keeps telling us that local employment is on the up and new jobs are everywhere. Perhaps you two could get together and come up with a clear co-alition line as to whether it's up or down. Duncan says- It's good to see, in figures released last week, that more and more people in Wiltshire are finding work. In the Chippenham constituency, the number of Jobseekers has fallen by 284 – more than a fifth – in the last year, including 65 fewer young Jobseekers. Nationally, the unemployment rate is now down to 7.6 per cent – its lowest since early 2009. The economy is on the mend, but there is still much more to do. One million jobs have been created since the election, and Liberal Democrats are working to help businesses create a million more, building a stronger economy in a fairer society. http://www.thisiswil tshire.co.uk/archive /2013/11/22/10822287 .Duncan_Hames__MP_fo r_Chippenham___Educa tion_is_the_key_to_g etting_jobs/ sir roy.orbit of chippenham

9:19am Sun 22 Dec 13

politepanda says...

"an opposition determined to cynically hijack the valuable work of excellent organisations for political ends "
Claire - as an expert in this condition -, may I remind you about living in a glass house and throwing stones?
And as for:
"I am going to be quietly working in our local centre in the Christmas week and am looking forward to hearing more about what they do – and what more I can do to help".
You need to go to press to do this quietly, yes??
"an opposition determined to cynically hijack the valuable work of excellent organisations for political ends " Claire - as an expert in this condition -, may I remind you about living in a glass house and throwing stones? And as for: "I am going to be quietly working in our local centre in the Christmas week and am looking forward to hearing more about what they do – and what more I can do to help". You need to go to press to do this quietly, yes?? politepanda

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