I came across this audio clip today from a radio call-in on James O’Brien’s LBC show. The topic for discussion I believe was a report published today about food bank usage. The caller talks about how he is struggling to feed himself following being made redundant. It’s impossible not to be moved by his plight, and seems a world away from the stories we have been reading recently about families being able to save up enough of their social security payments to be able to afford a Christmas splurge. It’s striking though that what he wants is not charity but a chance to work and be able to provide for himself.
Much as today’s food bank report has been welcomed, as this article points out, although the report mentions things like a living wage, it’s recommendations involve a lot more charity from supermarkets and other to provide surplus food and expand food bank provision. Charity is never going to solve all the problems though. People need jobs, jobs that pay enough to live a decent life. For those that are unable to work, they also need to have enough money to get by without having to be worried about being sanctioned every few months. Expanding food banks smacks of being a sticking plaster solution. I think most people on the breadline like the LBC caller just want the simple dignity that working and earning a decent living brings. It would be relatively straightforward to make that happen.