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Food bank Britain: 'I didn't ask to be ill'

This week Michael Gove claimed that people who use food banks have only got themselves to blame for mismanaging their finances. Can that be true? As the number of people relying on them has tripled in the past year – and continues to rise – we visit three centres in the UK



Until January 2011, Burton-Fullick, 56, had been working as a care assistant in a nursing home, which he had done for 23 years. The year before, he had had a heart attack, and when he later developed heart complications his doctor told him he'd have to give up work. On top of this, he has been living with diabetes since he was a toddler and it is seriously affecting his health – his sight is deteriorating, he is suffering hearing loss (he wears hearing aids in both ears) and has nerve damage in his hands and legs. He also has arthritis, which makes walking difficult, and will soon be going into hospital for surgery on his bladder. A large plastic tub full of drugs is on the table next to him.

He was given benefits that came to nearly £400 a month – less than he had been earning, but just about enough, combined with his partner's salary as a hospital porter, to live on. Then, as part of a reassessment by Atos, he was told he was no longer eligible for the new incapacity benefit, his benefits would be stopped immediately and that, despite his numerous health problems, he was fit for work and should go and find a job. He appealed, but lost. He isn't even eligible for jobseeker's allowance.

And there are no jobs for him. When he turned down a position because it was only 16 hours a week and almost all of his salary would have gone on commuting costs, he says the staff at the Jobcentre called him "lazy". "Well, how come I worked for 23 years in the care trade and only had to stop through illness? I didn't ask to be ill. I didn't ask for this to happen," he says. "I know people who run businesses and they've told me they wouldn't touch me with a bargepole. There are well people out there looking for jobs, so people like me aren't going to get a look-in."



Back at home, he unpacks the bags. "They say there's three days' food here but I can make it last a lot longer than that. They are very generous." He has also been given a bag of toiletries, including loo roll, toothbrushes and shower gel (the food bank started providing this after a young mother said how horrible it made her feel to have to wash her children using supermarket value brand washingup liquid).





Attacking the poor for being poor is a sign of what is so wrong about our society. A healthy society defends and protects the weakest not attacks them.



What happened to class action?

Class hatred has been siphoned off on to chavs, scroungers, benefit fraudsters, single mothers, all the new untouchables, so that the architects of austerity can justify their cruelty. In order to do this, class has become detached from work and demarcated through leisure.

The boom years gave us cheap goods and marketed consumption as the ultimate expression of individuality. You are not what you produce but what you consume. So now supersized TVs equate with supersized people as a signifier of powerlessness. We were meant to believe that the new barns of superstores and call centres would replace the old jobs and the quaint need for unions or collective bargaining. They didn't, so what exactly are we holding on to when we identify ourselves as working class? Something authentic and valuable?

You are not what you produce but what you consume





- ハマちゃん




2013.09.12 Thu 16:15 URL [ Edit ]

- 守屋

ハマちゃん さん


2013.09.13 Fri 05:47 URL [ Edit ]


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