There was an article in the guardian this week about fuel banks being opened to work alongside food banks. They are saying that this is the first time that this has happened and it is a breakthrough. Yes we have never had a fuel bank so to speak, but his is certainly not a new idea. For many years now they have existed, this scheme was ran by local authorities from funding given by the government. This worked well once people were correctly signposted to the correct department. So why were the fuel banks created?
Fuel banks have been created to fill the shortfall in the stopping of the funding for the local authorities that had been running for many years. Fuel banks provide people in need with £49 worth of credit which should in theory last for two weeks. People are reffered to the fuel banks in exactly the same way that people were referred to the local authorities for help, via a food bank, social worker or doctor. MP Frank field said that fuel banks are a major breakthrough, but they aren’t. They are simply distributing energy credit in the same way as before but from a different organisation. As usual the government stopped the funding to local authorities so it was taken up and the gap filled by another organisation.
Is this essential? Yes it is, without this people in need will go hungry and cold. Is it moral that the government and the energy companies allow this to happen? No it most certainly isn’t. This issue should be confronted and dealt with.
Poverty affects 1/3 of the UK population, personally I think it’s more than that. What is the definition of poverty? ” when a persons resources are not sufficient to meet their minimum needs” and here lies the problem. Until this problem and has been dealt with food banks and fuel banks are providing an essential sticking plaster over the problem that will continue to exist until it’s dealt with.
The D.W.P were asked to publish the deaths resulting from the punishing sanctioning regime and ESA related deaths, they were first asked to do this in 2012, but they have refused to do so. They’ve now been punched to do this again and are said to be releasing these figures very soon. Personally I will not believe this until I see it. In July 2012 10,600 people were said to have died as a result of changes to ESA claims and claims ending but he DWP. This figure will now be a lot higher, combine this with the deaths of people that have died as a result of sanctioning and I’m sure that it will be regarded as something not short of a national disaster, especially when we already know that 1 in 5 benefit related deaths are related to sanctions.
Maybe this is why they are very reluctant to release the figures, it paints a very different picture than the economic recovery that the Tory government keep talking about. It should cause outrage, people should be disgusted. But will they? I doubt it. The attitude that if it’s not happening to me then it doesn’t matter is very wrong. So let’s change this.
Events this week.
March against austerity in Manchester tomorrow, starts at 12pm meet up in Piccadilly gardens. This march is for everyone who cannot get down to London for the big March on June 20th. Please come along I shall be there.