Monday, 3 March 2014

Panorama: Hungry Britain? - 8.30pm, Monday 3 March on BBC1

'A wall chart in a Grantham job centre explicitly sets out the cash savings available to the Department for Work and Pensions through stopping the benefits of claimants, ranging from £227.20 a week for a four-week sanction to £3,728 for a sanction lasting one year.'

'More than one third of councils are subsidising meals at food banks while some families are so short of cash they are returning food which they cannot afford to heat.'

'"If people can't eat at all, what's the point in trying to get them to eat healthily?" said Julie Hirst, Public Health Specialist at Derbyshire County Council.'

'Ministers have denied links between welfare reforms and the170% increase in emergency handouts in 2013. But a study by Policy Exchange, created by Tory ministers Michael Gove and Francis Maude, today says so-called benefit “sanctions” are leaving claimants too poor to buy food.'

'What we thought we were hearing in the "big society" language was an affirmation of our role and an assurance that there was the political will nationally to supply the relatively small amounts of soft money needed to sustain it. In practice, the financial squeeze on local authorities, through whom much of the money was channelled, has decimated or destroyed many services.' Archbishop David Ward