It is the state that is shirking its duties, not the parents, Mr Gove.

As half a million people are reportedly reliant on the distribution of emergency food from food banks, the Government seems adamant to blame feckless parenting and a ‘scrounger mentality’ for the rise of food poverty in Britain. First, Lord Freud commented in the House of Lords this week that there was no link between the recent welfare cuts and the rise in demand for food banks. In a gross slur against the desperate families referred to food banks for help, he claimed that people were turning up just because there was ‘free food’, and not out of necessity – which simply isn’t true. Surveys show that one in five people suffering from food insecurity would not consider turning to a food bank for help, as they find the stigma attached to ‘asking for food’ humiliating. Then in today’s news, Michael Gove blames child poverty and hunger on reckless, irresponsible parenting and, in doing so, distracts from and denies the reality that most people using food banks are doing so as a result of benefit delays, sanctions, low income and unemployment. Other factors such as illness and domestic abuse certainly play a part, but these are the key causes, cited time and time again by food bank users. Many parents tell of going hungry themselves in order to feed their children, as the biting austerity measures wound family incomes – or lack thereof – deeper and deeper. It’s hardly the picture […]

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