John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Saturday, December 21, 2013
  The foodbanks debate and labour dishonesty.
On Wednesday there was an opposition debate. The motion can be found here and it said:
That this House notes that the number of people using foodbanks provided by the Trussell Trust alone has increased from 41,000 in 2010 to more than 500,000 since April this year, of whom one third were children; further notes that over the last three years prices have risen faster than wages; further notes the assessment of the Trussell Trust that the key factors in the rising resort to foodbanks are rising living costs and stagnant wages, as well as problems including delays to social security payments and the impact of the under-occupancy penalty; calls on the Government to publish the results of research into foodbanks commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which Ministers promised would be made public in the summer of 2013; and further calls on the Government to bring forward measures to reduce dependency on foodbanks, including a freeze on energy prices, a water affordability scheme, measures to end abuses of zero hours contracts, incentives to companies to pay a living wage and abolition of the under-occupancy penalty.

This has been misrepresented in various ways as "a vote against foodbanks" or a vote against investigating foodbanks.

When you vote for a motion you vote for everything in it. For example the freeze on energy prices which has already put energy prices up and caused a reduction in investment.

I am a strong supporter of having a detailed review of the effects of the various changes in the benefits system. However, I don't think Labour's proposals on homelessness and overcrowding, employment conditions, energy and water prices are actually good for those who are at the lower income end of society. Hence of course I would vote against this motion. I did make sure I read the papers to ensure what it actually said before I voted.

 
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