Rapid growth of Fareham’s Food Banks: a stark measure of warped economic priorities.
Long considered an affluent area, Fareham now has eight Food Banks serving people and families in need. Local data shows that referrals are seven times higher than a year ago. *
Community charity is commendable but, as essential costs spiral upwards, the capacity for giving shrinks. The results of two decades of under-investment and dependence on charity are now clear – even here in Fareham.
Awareness of poverty realities in a Britain wrecked by austerity, by free-market madness, lax regulation, and Brexit, seems not to trouble the blinkered governing party.
Liberal Democrat candidates – Gerry Drabble and Jimmy Roberts – campaigning to represent the communities of Hill Head and Stubbington – find that doorstep discussions reveal deep concern now that the consequences of Conservative priorities cannot be denied.
Gerald Drabble is a long-term resident of Hill Head and is deeply aware of many local issues impacting on community wellbeing. Considering the Cost-of-Living pressures, he says, “Radical solutions to inequalities may be contentious but policy failures must not be ignored.”
Jimmy Roberts is actively working to raise local priorities and resist central government edicts that would further weaken the local environment. “Much of my daily work as a local Councillor will be concerned with listening to, and caring for, the very real concerns of local people.”
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust – the UK’s largest food bank network – spoke of the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, “[His] decision has created a real-terms cut to social security payments, which remain dangerously insufficient.”
*Foodbank monthly usage data is typically detailed for two general categories of referrals (Families & ‘Single/Couple’) from Social Services, Health Care, and other professionals. Data is not available from all eight food banks, but indications are that Single/Couple referrals have recently risen slightly faster than referrals for Families. Foodbank missions reach across communities and are generally politically non-aligned.