Letters: Cut poverty by decreasing gap between rich and poor

MP Ward (WP Letters August 25) gave seemingly good advice on food spending to people who depend on our local food banks, but it's not that simple!

Friday, 31st August 2018, 4:58 pm
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 6:01 pm
There are no quick fixes to solve the poverty problem says a reader

Food poverty often exists alongside fuel poverty. Some people who rely on food banks do not have money for gas or electricity.

Some in privately rented accommodation do not have a functioning cooker. Some only have a microwave and kettle and have to become adept at assembling a meal from soup, tinned veg and meat heated in the


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Most people know it’s more economical in the long run to buy in bulk but, when the budget is very tight, everything has to be short-term, with cleaning products, toiletries and clothes bought when/if possible.

And there are other pressures on many food bank

users, the majority of whom have children and work. Just like all working parents, they are pushed for time. Shopping around for bargains is not easy and takes energy.

It is hard to be on top of your game when your life is stressful and full of unrelenting problems. The food banks that I am aware of often put their users in touch with other support services such as CAP, CAB, other support groups and counselling services. There is a wide network of people, mostly volunteers, working avidly to alleviate the effects of poverty in many areas of the country.

However, as I said, there are no quick or easy fixes and a lasting solution will not be found until the determination to decrease the widening gap between the rich and poor in our country is embraced by all our MPs and until we refuse to countenance any suggestion of fault, fecklessness or weakness on the part of those unfortunate enough to need to rely on food banks.

Val Smith

via email