Highlands and Islands Greens
Highlands and Islands Greens

Feeding the austerity monster is starving the poor

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

annethomas lr

Anne Thomas supports the foodbank

The outgoing government is trying to convince us that the economy is booming but it is a minority on good salaries who have seen their incomes increase. Too many in our society are experiencing famine. They are even struggling to put food on the table. This is happening in the sixth richest country in the world. If food banks were not there what would they do? Many people are experiencing sanctions which can be imposed for things such as arriving late for an appointment even if their bus was late or not applying for enough jobs even if there are no jobs to apply for. Applications and complaints are also on line or over the phone, yet increasingly phones and internet connections are a luxury people cannot afford, so they queue up for internet access at libraries or job centres but if they don’t spend enough time on line looking for jobs, again they are sanctioned. 

According to a study just published in the British Medical Journal the number of food banks rose from 66 to 421 from 2010 to 2013 and many more have opened since. The study also found evidence that food banks are responding to real hardship and the rise in use corresponds to a huge rise in need and not because people are more aware of them as the outgoing government likes to claim. The Trussell Trust have also just published their report.
The Scottish Green Party is calling for an end to austerity and sanctions for the poor at the same time as the rich are receiving tax cuts, dignity for all and an end to zero hours contracts. Giving tax cuts to the rich and benefit cuts to the poor is a failed economic model. It is the poor who spend money in our local communities and bring prosperity to all. Taking their money away has not plugged the nation’s debts. The national debt has doubled. The rich stash their money in tax havens, benefiting nobody but themselves.
We seem to have forgotten how to share. Greens are calling for equality not poverty and a fairer society for all.