One million foodbank visits, but not one story in the Tory press

More coverage for the royal foetus as the disgrace of foodbanks is dropped down the memory hole


Bad news this morning. We live in a country where one unborn baby gets more press than hundreds of thousands of hungry children.

As Ruby Stockham reports in these pages, the Trussell Trust charity today says it received a million vouchers for emergency food at foodbanks across the country last year (2014/15).

This is up by nearly a fifth (19 per cent) from the year before, and includes just shy of 400,000 vouchers for children. This doesn’t mean a million different people or 400,000 different children, but this is still an appallingly high number of people. The Trust believes the true figure may be even higher.

But you wouldn’t know any of this if you relied on the right-wing press in this country. Because not one of the national papers of a rightward bent found space to mention such a headline-worthy milestone – not the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Sun, the Express, or even the Times. 

Though the data was embargoed until midnight, both the Mirror and the Guardian managed to run prominent stories in their print editions. Why not the others? Could it be they find it embarrassing that the Trust says foodbank use has risen due to government welfare cuts and low wages?

The foodbank story is also missing from the supposedly left-wing Independent, though its Tory stablemate, the free Evening Standard, has run a London-specific story online which might go in tonight’s print edition. These two anomalies aside, the coverage – or lack thereof  – does seem to break down along Right/Left lines.

Meanwhile, the offending papers did find space for massive (and vacuous) coverage of speculation about the royal foetus, who once born will not have to want for anything a day of his/her life. It’s good to know these papers have their priorities sorted out.

The Sun royal baby

Space was also found for a US court decision to grant habeas corpus rights to two chimpanzees. This is an undoubtedly brilliant story, and even garnered an editorial in the Telegraph teasing the decision and its implications in the ‘human-rights-come-first’ mode.

I think we could more easily join them in their chuckles about a US court granting rights to monkeys if these papers showed more interest in the human rights of hungry people in Britain.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter


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