Monday 5 January 2015

Aylesbury Conservative councillor says food banks are for people with "drug, alcohol +mental health problems"

A Conservative councillor in Buckinghamshire has deleted his Twitter account after receiving widespread criticism for his comments about food banks.

Aylesbury Vale district councillor and Aylesbury town councillor, Cllr Mark Winn, said:
The people visiting food banks are those with drug, alcohol + mental health problems.
There will, of course, be people visiting food banks who have drug, alcohol and mental health problems but the vast majority are just ordinary people who are down on their luck. The ConDems have introduced targets for sanctions - temporarily stopping benefits for people as punishment for infringing some rule or other - which means some people having no money at all to pay bills or buy food so DWP staff can hit their targets. Benefits "reforms" such as the arbitrary withdrawal of housing benefit for people with spare bedrooms (the so-called "bedroom tax") and the botched ATOS assessments of people on disability benefits have resulted in tens of thousands of people having benefits reduced or withdrawn.

Deprivation is a huge contributor to drug, alcohol and mental health problems. People take drugs or get drunk to forget their problems and when it gets out of hand the support systems are so overstretched that they struggle to get the support they need to break the cycle. The same goes with mental health problems - it is believed that 1 in 4 people have some sort of mental illness, ranging from stress or mild depression to full on psychosis. The waiting list in some places for counselling on the NHS is over 3 months which is frankly ridiculous, It's no wonder mental health is an increasing problem.

Of course, the answer to a lot of these problems is the people affected getting a job. Working increases your self-worth and self-confidence, it distracts drinkers and drug takers from their addiction and it gives them an income. There is a clear correlation between unemployment levels and drink, drug and mental health problems, But there aren't enough jobs out there for people who already live in this country, let alone the hundreds of thousands of economic immigrants who move here to compete for the same jobs. Mass immigration is bad for the economy and bad for the social fabric of the country and it is the poorest and most vulnerable people that suffer the most.