There's been a lot of discussion about exactly why the demand for foodbanks here in the east of England is rising so quickly. Could there be a link between the number of people forced to use food banks and the number having their applications for benefit rejected? The fact is, those rejections have soared under the coalition government.
Green Party analysis of figures for our region compiled by the Department for Work and Pensions reveal that "adverse decisions" against claimants for Job Seekers Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance leapt from about 19,000 to almost thirty thousand between 2008 and 2009. By last year that number had doubled again to nearly sixty two thousand. We believe that this is one of the primary causes of the increased pressure on charitable foodbanks.
A Parliamentary select committee came to the same conclusion in January and called for an enquiry into inappropriate sanctions being imposed on claimants by Jobcentre Plus staff. They said staff should be incentivised to get people into work and not simply off benefits.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Government could instead target the tens of billions that are being ripped off us all by a minority of bankers and tax-evaders?