David Cameron is being totally disingenuous on food banks

Yesterday during Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron responded to a question on food banks by claiming that the use of food banks increased "ten times under Labour". When Cameron says this he is factually correct. He is being totally disingenuous, however.

Yesterday during Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron responded to a question by claiming that the use of food banks had increased “ten times under Labour“.

When Cameron says this he is factually correct. He is being totally disingenuous, however.

As the chart below shows, the number of people using foodbanks in 2005/06 – five years after the first one opened in Salisbury – had increased “ten times” by the time Labour left office in 2010. By more than ten times, actually; the real figure is closer to a seventeen fold increase.

What David Cameron fails to mention, however, is that whereas under the previous government the number of people using foodbanks gradually climbed over five years, under the coalition this figure has shot up dramatically – to 128,697 last year, an increase of 4,573% on the figures for 2005. (see the Trussell Trust graph below).

In terms of the number of foodbanks (as opposed to the number of people using them), the next graph below shows the rate at which they have increased in the last nine years. I don’t think it requires any further comment from me.

Foodbank numbers

Like this article? Left Foot Forward relies on support from readers to sustain our progressive journalism. Can you become a supporter for £5 a month?

38 Responses to “David Cameron is being totally disingenuous on food banks”

  1. Diogenesthered

    He probably uses a logarithmic scale on his documents so that it hides the scale of the rate of increase.

  2. SadButMadLad

    And of those thousands using foodbanks, how many actually and really do need them. As opposed to using them as a source of free food to offset the purchase of products which are more luxuries than necessities. When food is so cheap compared to past times there is not much excuse to not be able to afford tinned beans and cheap bread to survive on. Note that I say survive, as opposed to have a totally balanced diet of varied vegetables and meats which a nice to have.

  3. Raging Leftie

    This shouldn’t be surprising he is completely disingenuous about everything else why should this be any different?

  4. Matthew Malthouse

    Almost (but not quite) all food banks operate on a referral basis which requires care professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers, CAB or police to identify people in crisis and issue them with a food bank voucher or refer them.

    You can’t just rock up and help yourself.

  5. Peggy Lloyd

    SadButMadLad, think you need to get your facts right. a. You can’t just go to a food bank like a shop, you need to be referred by social services etc and have a voucher. b. They don’t provide luxuries, only necessities. c. They only provide food for 3 days. Would you like to feed your children on beans and cheap bread every day?

  6. Newsbot9

    Except, of course, the food inflation this century means it’s not cheaper.

    Keep glossing over the malnutrition and starvation in the UK.

  7. LB

    You spent all the money.

    Now they have no choice. Screw people with taxes and cut benefits.

    Why the surprise. You caused it.

  8. SadButMadLad

    Food inflation. What’s that? Something you thought of? Real facts show that food is a lot cheaper than it used to be.

    Just think of the many items of food that used to be real luxuries and are now so common they are eaten every week of the year. Food is so cheap now a days, that we even throw away good food. If it was expensive then people would not throw away even scraps.

    In the 1950s we spent 25% of our income on food. Now we spend just 10%.

  9. Newsbot9

    Yes, you keep calling facts names.

    And yes, you keep talking about what the middle class and the rich eat. The poor don’t. They can’t afford to throw away food.

    That your rich and middle class spend less on food, when other costs have risen so sharply – keep up the plain denial of the facts on malnutrition and starvation.

  10. Newsbot9

    Yes, keep lying. Your rich are getting richer at record rates. Keep claiming there’s no choice but to carry out your genocide.

  11. SadButMadLad

    You have to be referred by social services, someone at the job centre, a doctor, a CAB employee, just about anyone. And the charities are actively looking for more people to hand out the vouchers. So quite easy to give a sob story and get vouchers.

    OK, so you can only get 3 vouchers giving a total supply of 9 days food. But what then? Are the charities really going to turn away people who are still in trouble having given them free food for over week. Or will the claimants be told, what they should have been told at the start, cut back on unnecessary expenditure if you are really going hungry. Seriously. If you are going hungry, throw away your TV, your laptop, and buy the food that is marked for sale at the end of the aisle in the supermarket and cook in bulk to make maximum use of cheap ingredients. And if that means beans on toast for 6 days of the week, then so be it.

  12. SadButMadLad

    Just another thought. How many of the tens of thousands were double counted. Applicants for free food have three attempts at getting their food. Is that counted as one claim or three. If the later than the figures of 128,000 should be divided by 2 at the very least. When a charity is actively trying to get more organisations to hand out vouchers and whose survival is dependent on more food being given out then you will get some twisting of the figures.

  13. SadButMadLad

    Do the FAO figures take into account inflation? Doesn’t look like it. To me, they look weird shooting up so high when actual prices in the supermarket do not change anything like it. Also, it’s an international measure, not a UK based on.

    It’s not just middle class and rich who benefit. They only benefit a bit. Cheap food means that the poor can also eat better quality food. They benefit a lot from cheap food. People in developing countries spend over 50% of their income on food. They are the same as our poor now.

    I didn’t say that the poor throw away food. I gave a generalisation. It’s you who is stupid who can’t understand that.

    Of course if you are poor then you value food more and will use it to the most, even re-using left overs. As for perpetual diet of beans on toast, god you are stupid. If you are in that state for a long period then you have some serious problems that 9 days of free food from a food bank can’t solve.

    And saying that it puts a strain on the NHS is just taking the biscuit for straw-manning. If you think that you’d have health problems from eating cheap food for a short while then you are really really stupid. Sorry for calling you names, but you are stupid when you can’t see the price labels on food and see how cheap the food is compared to your income, earned or benefits.

  14. Newsbot9

    You said that what what the poor could afford – and then you launch into victim blaming. The LONG term malnutrition and starvation you’re whitewashing is pathetic.

    Keep calling basic foods people can’t afford “cheap”. You’re launching a vicious attack on the poor again, spouting off your “stupid” label to ignore the truth.

    No different from triple-dip denial.

  15. SadButMadLad

    I don’t attack all the poor. I attack the poor who dig themselves deeper and deeper into a hole. The state and charities provides a lot of help, but they can only do so much before you have to help yourself.

    Long term malnutrition and starvation? Sorry, where is that coming from? All the charities and organisations and scientists and media are saying that we are in obesity epidemic. They are calling for the closing down of McDonalds and other fast food restaurants the problem is so bad. You can’t have it both ways.

  16. Newsbot9

    Ah, “just” the poor who are struggling financially – i.e. all of them. And the very little support the state gives…and the Charities who don’t cover everyone, and are seeing funds dry up, because disposable income is plummeting.

    And of course you’ll us any excuse to excuse your vicious attacks on the poor. Keep ignoring the facts! Obesity in the middle class is one thing, the problem with malnutrition and starvation in the poor another.

  17. Newsbot9

    Yes yes, keep claiming the very clear statistics are lies to suit your hatred of the poor. And of course you think the poor getting some basic food is “twisted”.

  18. Newsbot9

    That’s right, you keep up your hatred and bigotry. Keep telling people who work that they should be able to teleport to the shops from work, to make it there before they close. Keep telling them to eat nutritionally inadequate food on a permanent basis.

    Keep on telling them they can afford to buy in bulk, keep on assuming that fuel is free. More important to you that you take away their laptop, which they need to keep track of basics and to work on.

    It’s the usual sick hated of the poor from your far right. (And of course you need to trash the NHS to stop them from carrying the cost of the meagre diet you allow the poor to eat….and when prices rise again, they won’t be affording THAT).

    Keep calling starvation a “sob story”, as your over-entitles backside coasts on unearned income and corporate welfare.

  19. SadButMadLad

    So it’s you who don’t think well of the poor if you think every single one of them is struggling financially. Very progressive of you to think that all poor are the same. Nope. Wrong. Many poor survive quite well.

    I thought the state gave a lot of support. It provides free health care, a roof over someone’s head, and many other benefits. Benefits that have over the last few years increased at a rate higher than inflation.

    Obesity is not a class issue. All classes suffer it.

  20. SadButMadLad

    Now you’ve seriously lost the plot.

  21. SadButMadLad

    Are they clear? Tell me how the numbers are calculated then.

  22. Newsbot9

    You mean I’ve debunked your lies? Thanks for that.

  23. Newsbot9

    One person claims. One person is counted. There’s no ambiguity or room for your slithering here.

  24. Newsbot9

    I have a appreciation of the financial situation, and that’s why you’re engaging in warfare against them, I know.

    You keep claiming people who can’t get enough calories are “obese”.

    The state gives free health care, but it does NOT pay for a roof even for most of the poorest. Housing benefit is not sufficient for housing for the vast majority of claimants. By design. And it’s getting far worse now HB is unlinked from actual rental prices.

    Many benefits have gone DOWN considerably, but keep up the bigoted lies. You’ve capped benefits at the same time as you’re about to unleash inflation.

    It’s literally murderous, and you’re praising it, and lying about benefit levels.

  25. SadButMadLad

    Nope, just that there’s no point arguing with someone who only uses emotion rather than facts to back up their case.

  26. SadButMadLad

    Thank you for proving that the numbers are over counted. One person claims, one person is counted. The same person clams, the same person is counted again. No ambiguity.

  27. Newsbot9

    Right, so I shouldn’t argue with you in your rules. Got it.

  28. Newsbot9

    You’re reading what you want into this, to justify your attacks on the poor. It wasn’t unclear, you’re a liar and bigot.

  29. SadButMadLad

    Warfare. Murderous. Vicious. Some seriously bad words there. When you can’t argue back and start using pure emotion then you’ve lost the argument.

  30. Newsbot9

    Yes. And they all apply to you. And right, you’ve lost the argument because you’ve resorted to pure emotion in your war on the poor. Can’t allow them to eat in your world, after all.

    (That’s not emotion – it’s a statement of fact based on your agenda)

  31. SadButMadLad

    I can only read into the numbers by what I can see. Tell me that the numbers cater for people claiming multiple times. Until you do, then you have failed. It’s up to you to prove the numbers back up your case. I don’t. I’ve just given some arguments about the numbers could be saying.

  32. Newsbot9

    That’s right, you’re reading your own bias into the numbers. Rather than actually looking at them. Keep claiming my inability to reprogram your brain is a “failure”.

    You’re making up attacks on the poor, coming here and lying, because you’re a troll. No other reason.

  33. jj

    Well in the same rhetoric apply the one person one claim same person claiming and being counted again to figures both last and current government AND you still have a huge increase.

  34. jj

    Sorry prices have shot up in supermarkets or if they have remained the same then the packets /portions have become smaller. A full 5 years ago including amounts of alcohol usually came in at £90 for myself – now minus the alcohol its closer to £140. My cupboards are full of own brand labels I buy end of life products and make good use of all that we have but its getting a damn site harder.

  35. Newsbot9

    Let me repeat – no, there is none in your attempt to lie and steal food from the poor.

  36. Bev Castle-Barnes

    Well when the bedroom tax comes into force plus the cuts to council tax benefit AND the fact that my rent is going up…I will have about a fiver left per week for food. My nearest food bank is 2 bus trips away… I cant even afford to get there!

  37. will

    I work in the social care sector and see a great deal of abuse in terms of the benefits system. I have seen many families using the benefits system and food banks to supplement their continued irresponsible spending on consumer goods on credit thereby reducing their available funds for basics like food. Added to that a great deal of their disposable income also gets spent on cigarette’s and alcohol. I think one plus with the food banks is that they contain a healthy balance of foodstuffs in their food boxes so families on low incomes and benefits are probably benefitting from a healthier diet then their existing one or the one they can only afford. I only eat one meal a day ( yes my choice) , but this is all I need as a middle aged man in a desk job. The last thing we would want the food banks to do is increase obesity with some families using them to supplement what is effectively over consumption of food in their households already !

  38. John

    How can Cameron lecture China on human rights when he makes his own people beg to even eat!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.