The rise in the use of food banks has reached huge proportions. The food banks, originally intended for the most destitute within society, are starting to be used across all sectors of the working class, often including those parts who might have previously seen themselves as belonging to the ‘middle class’. The figures produced by the Trussel Trust (a charitable organisation) are revealing: in Britain in every town and city we have seen the opening up of food banks, and the number of people needing the banks to feed themselves and their families has gone up as follows:
|2013||200,000 (estimated for this year so far)|
It’s not just in Britain where we’ve seen populations resorting to food banks. Over this past year in Greece and Spain we have seen the same situation: workers being forced into queuing for food hand-outs in order to live. However, these are economies which are openly bankrupt and these are emergency measures, are they not? But even in a much more prosperous country and economy such as Canada we are seeing the same thing:
“Last year Mr. De Schutter (a UN official) completed an 11 day mission to Canada, his first to a developed country. He reported ‘very desperate conditions’ in a country where 850,000 rely on food banks and condemned the Canadian government’s ‘self-righteous’ failure to acknowledge the scale of the problem on its doorstep” (‘UN Official alarmed by Food Banks in UK’, Independent 17.02.13)
Chronic and society-wide hunger used to be associated with the countries of the ‘Third World’, but it’s now spreading in the bastions of the ‘Rich World’ as well. It’s the same the whole world over under austerity.