Sunday 14 December 2014

Iain Duncan Smith talks down food banks with some dodgy maths

Iain Duncan Smith says that the number of people using food banks in the UK is "tiny" and isn't a result of changes to the welfare system because Germany has far more generous benefits and they have more people using food banks.

The Trussell Trust, which runs a nationwide network of food banks, says it has fed 913,138 in a year. Add in the independent and church-run food banks all over the country and over a million people have used food banks. Germany has a population of nearly 86.7m compared to the UK's 62m which works out at roughly the same percentage of the population.

There is a huge difference between the German and UK unemployment benefit system. In Germany you have to pay into the system to get out of it and you have to pay into it for two years for every year you can take out. There's none of the nonsense we have here with some people being entitled to as much as £50k in benefits either - a couple in Germany would need to have 12 children to be entitled to more than £50k in unemployment benefits. If you have savings in Germany then you will be expected to spend those before you get benefits - no protecting your nest egg and using taxpayers' money to pay your bills there. Yet despite the much stricter benefits system, Germany still has roughly the same percentage of the population using food banks as we do here in the UK with what is still, despite the punitive changes the Tories and Lib Dems have brought in, a very generous welfare system.

The more millionaire Tories trying to talk down the vital role that food banks play in feeding the people that they've let down the better, we need more UKIP MPs working for people in need instead of Tories like IDS working against them.

Image: Street Democracy