The goal of The Trussell Trust, the religious organisation responsible for food banks across Britain, is “a foodbank in every community”. Is this what we are coming to?
At present there are over 500 foodbanks in Britain, with the number expected to boom as welfare provision collapses, wages are depressed, unemployment rises and poverty on a par with 19th-century Britain escalates.
The Trussell Trust denies that its Christian mission follows similar fundamentalist projects in the US, where foodbanks feed 37 million people daily. The number in Britain is tens of thousands. But the concept, as epitomised in government “Big Society” thinking is to institutionalise such do-gooding and charity.
There is even a franchise model for foodbanks; and there are discussions with supermarket chains about tax breaks. Corporate social responsibility projects see foodbanks as a feel good factor for capitalism. In the 1930s there were the soup kitchens, but Britain in the 21st century is wealthier, more affluent and yet millions face poverty. ■