We are just about to start the pre-Christmas supermarket foodbank collections in Marlborough. Tesco is on Thursday, Friday and Saturday – December 3-5 – and Waitrose is on the same Saturday.
As usual we expect to be grateful for the great generosity shown by people who shop in Marlborough. Sadly their generosity is sorely needed.
The Trussell Trust who sponsor the foodbank that serves the Marlborough area, and is the largest network of foodbanks in the country, has just released its latest figures.
They report the supply of over half a million three-day food parcels over the six months from April to September this year (three per cent more than last year). In the breakdown of these national figures they report that the most frequent reason for people being referred to a foodbank is ‘delay in benefit payments’.
This accounts for 29 per cent of referrals. It is a shocking figure. It means that not just in a few hundred or so regrettable cases is there mismanagement, mistake or confusion in the payment of benefits, but in more than one hundred and forty six thousand cases in six months such mistakes are made that cause grievous hardship to vulnerable people.
There seems to be serious incompetence in the administration of benefits. In the notes to its report the Trussell Trust says: “Benefit delays refer to people not receiving benefits to which they are entitled on time…”
One wonders if the delays are explained by that new term ‘efficiencies’ – a term used increasingly by government to describe changes that are made as a consequence of budget cuts. With good wishes,
Little Bedwyn, Marlborough