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14 September 2009
Food banks in Britain

Food banks have arrived in Britain, as this video shows. Most British people have probably never heard of them, but they are common in the USA. Run by charities they provide food to the poor, and in the case of Salisbury, where this video was shot, that means the working poor, as 85 percent of the people who use the food bank have a job. The problem is that they are just one wage packet away from destitution if a crisis hits them.

Funnily enough, that is probably why the British food banks are concentrated in the south of the country. Had the family in the video lived in the north, then the chances are that they would have been unemployed as jobs are like rocking horse shit in the old industrial areas. They would have received the social and their rent would have been paid by benefits. Life for them would not be great, but they would not be a step away from losing their home and having to live on the generosity of a food bank.

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I'll put that one up. The south of england is in an increasingly unquiet crisis. If any interest rate rises or the inevitable fiscal crisis follow quickly on the G-20 summit, all those 'zombie households' will start going down. It's also interesting that the man in the video hunts for food--it surprised me anyway.

14 September 2009 at 07:17  

A lot of folk in Oxford go hunting, and it does seem to be a tradition that has survived in the south but not the north.

What amazed me was the fact that this food bank operates in the south. There is a whole tranche of hidden poverty in Wessex that is not discussed and which involves people who are unrepresented by Labour anymore.

14 September 2009 at 14:28  

I heard a couple of gents in the bar in Bath a few weeks ago--purely anecdotal this--who'd earned about four hundred between them all month. Broadly, that's fifty pounds a week, to cover no end of bills and payments and without much of the much-vaunted benefit support that everyone might think that they were getting. I know its not your 'bag' as it were, but there are also no end of people living by deferring credit, paying bills late, or just making minimum payments--one tax or interest rate hike and they are done for. There is an awful lot of privation around--and no political representation for the put-upon. It's like pre-revolution America.

That 'tent cities meme' is expanding in the comments on my blog. We've found three more in Australia, and a food bank in Poland, though unfortunately it's being taken over by young chancers.

14 September 2009 at 15:15  

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