Monday, 3 March 2014

Councils spending £2.9m on food poverty

An investigation by BBC’s Panorama has revealed that more than a third of councils in England and Wales are subsidising food banks. The programme claims that £2.9m has been set aside by local authorities over the past couple of years to combat food poverty. Panorama asked all 375 councils in England and Wales about food banks for its programme, Hungry Britain?, which will be broadcast tonight. Of the 323 councils that responded, 140 said that they were providing funding. The programme also claims that the two councils covering the constituency of Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, have between them spent almost £70,000 to combat food poverty over the past two years. Professor Liz Dowler, a food policy expert and one of the authors of a recent government report about food banks, said there was a danger the lines between food banks and the state were becoming blurred. "Food banks are an inadequate plaster over a gaping wound," she said. "They do not solve the problems. And that they should be enshrined as an inadequate solution is deeply immoral."

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