04/09/2012 Newsnight


Will the prime minister's cabinet reshuffle do anything to change the government's fortunes? Also, the Brits turning to handouts from food banks. With Jeremy Paxman.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 04/09/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



The crucial reshuffle of David Cameron's administration was never


going to change the direction of Government, so what has it done?


Can a former banker, a former miner, and a man who boasts of his own


plane, and fabulous mansion, make the British people clasp this


Government to its bossom. Is this to be harder edge, more populist


coalition, one of those to receive preferment today is here. We will


be chewing over the fat with the reshuffle significance with a panel


of politicians. Also tonight, how is it that in a welfare state,


maybe 200,000 of us only eat if we go to a food bank. It took things


to get that bad, for me to pick up the phone in the first place, and


meet someone like Gavin and say, I'm not coping.


I'm trying, but I'm not coping. food banks The Big Idea society in


action, or a terrible indictment of Government policy. We will discuss


with David Cameron's former speechwriter a food bank charity


leader and a Labour MP. The Health Secretary who spent eight years


learning his way around the NHS, will be leader of the House of


Commons. And the man who knows all about opera and the Olympics, gets


to learn about other things. Other unwanted individuals get jobs


created for them in the best traditions of the worst run parts


of the public sector. David Cameron's reshuffle of his


Government isn't especially easy to make sense of. But we're going to


try. Give us the headlines, first off. It is a bit of a list, first


of all, no major changes at the top. But lower down there were


significant changes. The first is Justine Greening. She's now become


the International Development Secretary, but she was Transport


Secretary, and she opposed the third runway at Heathrow, we do


expect some changes on that policy in the next few months. Her being


moved confirms that. She's replaced by Patrick McLoughlin. We will


explain later in our package fully what that means. It is not as


obvious as people think. The other one is Andrew Lansley. He, as you


said in the piece he is now leader of the House and Jeremy Hunt


becomes Health Secretary. He has not had a brilliant year in the


last 12 months. Baroness Warsi, who has appeared on the programme a lot,


she's no longer chairman, she is the Foreign Office minister, it is


a demotion she's not happy with it. She is replaced by Grant Shapps,


the new Conservative chairman. Keneth Clarke, familiar to many


people, he will no longer have a portfolio, but he will rove,


because he has the gift of the gab. He will explain their policies


across Government, critically he won't explain prisons, which was a


policy he engineered, and didn't go down well with many people, except


the Liberal Democrats. Chris Grayling replaced him and the as


Justice Secretary, with some nuance he has a harder position on these


things. Iain Duncan Smith, he doesn't go anywhere, that is why


he's one of the biggest stories. The Prime Minister asked him to


move and he said, no. It sounds like minor changes, but


could have major impact. It is never normally like this, the walk


of shame or fame, required when a Prime Minister reshuffles, was


today unusually festooned by the bunting of the Olympics. Little


triangles of jolity, would have made Harold Macmillan's Night of


the Long Knives seem like a children's party. Today unlucky


number were contemplating Westminster's career catwalk.


Inside this building in Downing Street they talk about the


Government's priority as a triangle, as a triangle the bunting will do.


At the pointy end up deficit reduction, beneath that the two


priorities of welfare reform and education. Today's reshuffle was


about putting better communicators in place to explain, talk and go on


about that triangle. This man was David Cameron's most senior special


adviser on public sector reform until three months ago. If you


actually look at the posts and the kinds of people put in place, it is


a very, very strategic thing. Jeremy Hunt at health is an obvious


big one, Andrew Lansley will go down in history as great reformer.


There are questions about how that reform was communicated, and Jeremy


Hunt has been put there to deal with that specific question. You


have two-and-a-half years until the next general election, a lot of


reforms that have been put in place need to carry on. Except the


trouble is, the first move attempted by the Prime Minister,


would tinker with one corner of that triangle. A sense of what was


going on last night was suggested on Newsnight by one of our own.


talk about Iain Duncan Smith, he has reached the point where he has


introduced the reforms, it might be a different person you want to


implement the reforms. So you would change welfare secretary at this


point. Danny Finkelstein was on our programme telling us that Duncan


Smith was telling the Prime Minister that actually he wouldn't


be moved. We know one of the men in charge of the corners of the


triangle, is someone the Government would rather not be in post. The


reshuffle had perhaps misfired in its earliest hours last night. But


as Tuesday wore on, the Government's shop got more steady.


By teatime, you could almost see the target they were aiming for. On


the one hand, a defeat for the Chancellor for not removing Iain


Duncan Smith, that will become a problem in years to come as they


try to get cuts from welfare. But seven ministers of state were


listed as owing their promotion to George Osborne, on aviation, the


environment, on planning and even childcare. It is clear now that the


Chancellor will push through his will. A new job for the man who


made sure the Olympic bunting was deserved. Paul Dayton, who has been


ennobled, he delivered the Olympics, and the Government think he can


deliver for them on the economy. Liz Truss, changing childcare, Greg


Clarke to change City policy, Michael Fallon keeping an eye on


Vince Cable in business, Owen Paterson sceptical on the


environment, Patrick McLoughlin clears the way for more airport


capacity in the south-east. Mark Holborn will help the Treasury get


that �10 million out of the coffers. They turn around the fortunes of


both coalition parties into the 2015 elections. It is promotion now


that really matters, not promotion to the Government in future


reshuffles. The promotions today include Chris Grayling, Keneth


Clarke's liberal prison policy of rose garden days is no more. Though


Grayling won't junk it all. He has no truck for European rulings or an


overzealous culture of human rights. Keneth Clarke's demise is possibly


the biggest Lib Dem news in this reshuffle. This sees the rise of


blue collar Conservatism., Chris Grayling has the job because it is


thought he can talk better to Tory Party voters about crime. Liz Truss


has the job, because the party thinks she has the ideas to bring


down the cost of childcare. Patrick McLoughlin's appointment is partly


about clearing the way for the third runway at Heathrow. But it is


also because he's a straight talking northerner, who can talk


convincingly to voters about rail fares and the cost of fuel. This is


a cost of living reshuffle. appointment of Patrick McLoughlin


is the most interesting to me, because, obviously, an ex-miner


from the northern area, he has been brought out of the shadows into


transport. Which may not be a kind of top-teir Government department,


in terms of spending and reputation and so on, but actually, if you


look at ordinary working people, transport is a massive issue for


them. Today Cameron attempted to make good his pledge to have a


third of his Government women by the end of the parliament.


Newsnight was in Downing Street when two of them found out. But it


wasn't enough to mask the reduction of the number of women as full


cabinet ministers, down from five. On this going, he will struggle to


meet his target. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, lost no time in


denouncing the removal of one woman, Justine Greening, because of her


opposition to Heathrow. Johnson accused the Government of ditching


its promises, he pledged to tight this. -- fight this. The bunting


goes away with the Paralympics, this reshuffle has to pay off for


both coalition parties to have cause to get it out again in 2015.


Good day for the Prime Minister, do you think? It is a reminder of how


many back seat drivers he has on all the issues he has. We heard


from three Tory leaders today. Iain Duncan Smith saying you can't move


him, and Boris Johnson saying you can't do that. He doesn't operate


with masses of free space, but I do think it is more impressive than


many feel. The personnel brought in may not be very well known to


people, but they are people who do have ideas. They have the


capability, if they can persuade the Civil Service of their ideas,


and if they have the time, to do some things that might make a


difference. Whether it will be -- they will pull it off, I don't know.


It is more interesting than some people think.


We live in an ever-changing world, but there are some enduring things


you can count upon, come Shane or shine, winter or summer, elections


or reshuffle, one of them is Michael Fallon making a trip into


the Newsnight studio. Thank you for coming. Can we expect any changes


of direction or anything as a result of this reshuffle? No, it is


a big reshuffle, it is a very important reshuffle, what it


demonstrates is the Government really means business now there is


a new team that is going to fight for our future. And they didn't


mean it before? We are at a different stage. We have a


deteriorating outlook in Europe and the world economy, we have really


got to step up the pace and get the growth this country needs. That is


what the new team is there for. When Boris Johnson says there is


only one reason for sacking Justine Greening, to build a new runway at


Heathrow, he's wrong? She hasn't been sacked, but moved to an


important department, international development, we have a big job to


do, to persuade the British people, at a difficult time in our economy,


that we have a moral duty to help the rest of the world, the poorer


parts of the world with overseas aid. From which she was moved on in


less than a year. Boris Johnson says the only reason for doing that,


is because you want to change your policy on Heathrow s that true?


That is completely wrong. The policy on Heathrow stays exactly as


it is. This Government won't build a new runway at Heathrow under this


Government. But, you know, there is a juggling around every time with


the cabinet. Suddenly the Chief Whip became available, former


transport minister, very experienced person in Whitehall,


was available to be Transport Secretary. There is a big job to be


done, as I said, in international development, in persuading people


of the importance of overseas aid. There was a natural fit there.


own job, you are going to Vince Cable's department to be Number Ten,


tell us, a voice for business. Isn't there a voice there already


in the business department? There is, but there is a big job to be


done in ensuring we really do get the growth this economy needs now.


And to drive the business agenda. You will hear later this week new


proposals to develop our infrastructure, to support more


affordable housing, for example, to speed up planning, to deregulate,


this is work that is never done. We have to step up the pace now to


make sure this economy starts to keep growing and growing faster.


hasn't been doing that, has it? has, the private sector has already


created nearly a million new jobs in two years. As you know very well.


The eurozone economies have deteriorated. The world economic


outlook is worse than anybody predicted two years ago. We have


simply got to work harder and harder at getting the growth we


want. You are like the seventh cavalry riding to the rescue at the


be Knighted department are you? department doesn't need rescuing,


we have to focus relentlessly on growth, and every couple of years


the team needs to be refreshed. Aleg gra put her finger on it, she


says you are going there to keep an eye on Vince Cable? I'm looking out


for business. Do you have absolute confidence of Vince Cable's


management of the economy? Absolutely, I'm there to help his


agenda of helping British business create jobs. Can you tell us why it


is that Keneth Clarke has joined the cabinet, as yet another voice


on economic affairs, apparently when you have already got three


within cabinet? Keneth Clarke has already served in six big


departments, you think it is only fair, at his age, to let somebody


else have a go. We are not losing hisser experience, he will be there


at the cabinet table, and serve on the National Security Council, of


course, he will contribute his economic expertise, a former


Chancellor, to the various economic committees of the cabinet. That


expertise will be very welcome to the Chancellor. How many people can


sit at the cabinet table? I'm not sure the exact number. I don't


think it is any more than Tony Blair had at his cabinet table or


Gordon Brown. It is over 30, it is more? Can you all sit down? There


are many who can't attend. There are chairs for all of them. It is


very important not to lose the experience of people like Kenneth


Clarke, he has been a Chancellor of the Exchequer, and industry


secretary before, and has a huge amount to contribute. That is good


news. Anybody you will miss? It is sad to see some go. When you


refresh a team, there are people who served in Government who have


to be let down. One of the things David Cameron has done in this


reshuffle, which wasn't fully brought out. He's a Conservative


Prime Minister that brought into Government the largest number of


women, ever. A huge raft of new women ministers. Who were appointed


today. Helen Grant, Esther McVeigh. There is not a cat in hell's chance


you will get a third of the Government to be women? It is still


the promise, this is the largest number of women appointed in a


single day by a Conservative Prime Minister. That's extremely good


news. There is a new generation now of Conservatives. People who


haven't always been there. Five out of 31 at the cabinet table, by my


calculations, doesn't amount to one third? It is not a third yet, but


you have to start by getting them into parliament. David Cameron


changed the Conservative Party to do that. Now you see them coming


through as junior ministers, and soon in the fullness of time you


will see them coming through to the cabinet. You saw two coming through


today. Maria Miller and Theresa Villiers were appointed to the


Government. We also saw some going? You can't exempt women from the


inevitable reshuffle when people change departments. I would suggest


you have to in order to increase the proportion? The proportion of


ministers is being increased and he's working towards that total.


What about poor old Andrew Lansley, he spends years and years trying to


understand the National Health Service, he starts bringing in some


reforms and then he gets the chop? He has spent eight years dealing


with that portfolio all together. It is a very long time, and very


unusual for somebody running a single portfolio. Very unusual for


that length of time. He has got the reforms through parliament. We are


in a new phase where we need to deliver the reform, he was offered


a promotion today to leader of the House, it is one of the most


important jobs in parliament. He has taken that, and succeeded by a


really good communicator in Jeremy Hunt. What does he know about the


health service? He's obviously got to bone up on the health service,


all ministers have been involved in all these policy areas. Andrew


Lansley wasn't involved in the health service before he became the


shadow secretary. He spent eight years learning about it. He wasn't


involved before that. It is inevitable you have ministers


coming new to the briefs. That is a good thing. They bring fresh


experience he is a proven manager and proven communicator, Jeremy


Hunt, by the way, he has just delivered the most successful


Olympics this country has ever seen. What has that got to do with it?


shows he can deliver, we want him to deliver the health service


reforms. Two in cabinet before Methusela was in the land, my


guests are here, with Mary McLoed here two years. First of all,


Justine Greening, Boris Johnson says the only reason she was sacked


was so your party could change its policy on Heathrow, and build more


air capacity there. What would happen if your party did that?


priority is not going to change -- the party will not change its view,


and the coalition won't change its view on the third runway. We will


hold firm to the agreement we had with the coalition and ls to each


of our manifestos. Could you stay as MP if the policy changed?


would stay and fight, absolutely. You would have to resign, wouldn't


you? The policy is not going to change in this Government. We have


had all senior members of this Government saying the policy won't


change, and it will not change. Boris Johnson is just talking


rubbish again, is he? I agree with Boris's view on the third third


runway, as -- the third runway, as no third runway. Why he is living


in fantasy and seeing a change of policy in the offing? I'm not Boris.


But the important thing is there is no change in policy in this


Government on the third runway. We have stated that categorically.


Senior membership of the Government, including the Prime Minister,


Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary, have all reiterated


there will be no change in policy on the third runway. Do you see


this reshuffle, for what many people see it to be, a move to the


right in Government? There is one particular position, and that's the


Justice Secretary, occupied by Chris Grayling. That is something


which Liberal Democrat MPs in the House will be watching very


carefully indeed. He's replaced Keneth Clarke, who often spoke


about those issues concerned as if he was a Liberal Democrat. So the


Liberal Democrats will want, maybe that's why he has been moved. We


will be looking very, very carefully, because we take a Keneth


Clarke view about justice. And Chris Grayling will have to justify


anything he says or does, which sur plants from that. You are happy


with the rest of the appointments, Owen Paterson at environment?


appointment of people who have in the past expressed more right-wing


views that than are contained in the coalition agreement. The


coalition agreement is for this parliament. As rightly said, during


the course of this parliament, the policy on the third runway will not


change. But, here I depart slightly from what has been said already,


the appointment of Patrick McLoughlin is clearly a signal that


in the manifesto of the Conservative Party, at the next


general election, there will be a different policy than the one that


was in the last manifesto. Or, indeed, in the coalition agreement.


It hasn't been written yet, you don't know. Michael Fallon was very


specific, he said this Government. That's completely hypothesising


about something happening in two- and-a-half years time. You're oddly


mute? I haven't been asked a question yet. I will ask you one


now. Aren't you thrilled to see the Department of Justice in the hand,


at last, of someone who is not a lawyer? Oim' not. We never said it


-- I'm not, we never said it had to be a lawyer, but someone standing a


bit to the side of Daily politics. When Kenneth Clarke was appointed


there, he was brilliant, he might be a Lib Dem for all I know, but


he's a man of independent judgment. But Chris Grayling is in touch with


public opinion? I don't know if he is or not, I wonder to the extent


to which he will gain the trust of people in the system, they will


look to him for protection from, for example, politicians like


Theresa May, who think there are votes in attacking the judges, for


example. Will Chris Grayling defend them? I don't know. One of the


things I think is a characteristic of this reshuffle, is the fact that


the Prime Minister's effort to avoid controversy, you move Jeremy


Hunt from culture, where you would have to deal with the outcome of


the Leveson Inquiry, you move Andrew Lansley away from health,


because he would have had to implement issues which were very,


very controversial. And of course, you move Justine Greening away from


transport, as a potentially controversial thing. That's what,


behind a lot of this, is an effort it try to dampen down things that


would be difficult within the Conservative Party. You were


Parliamentary Private Secretary in that department? I was, yes, for


the last two years. You recognise this picture of it? I think


certainly I enjoyed working with Keneth Clarke, and Nick Herbert,


the minister I was PPS to. It is important to keep Keneth Clarke,


because of his experience, and he's still incredibly sharp, it is very


important to have him around the cabinet table. I like in this


reshuffle that it has brought in new faces and more women. More


women, it hasn't brought in more women? In the ministerial levels.


But fewer in cabinet? Slightly fewer, but down by one in cabinet.


But, what the Prime Minister always promised. Do you believe this stuff


about being a third of women in this parliament? The Prime Minister


aimed for 30% of women in the ministerial, across ministerial


appointments. That is still something, I think, he can deliver,


over time. We still haven't heard all the appointments yet. In two-


and-a-half years? Definitely possible. It is a reshuffle that


will reduce trust in politic. Although Michael Fallon is much to


be admired for coming to Newsnight on a regular basis. The particular


line he was running about Justine Greening, who was there for ten


months, and everybody thought she did a good job. The idea she hasn't


been moved because of Heathrow, and everybody denying it, is very bad


for politics. Jeremy Hunt is by and large a man who everybody regarded


as having messed up the most important job he had, which was the


Sky TV bid, whether you think he should have resigned or not, he


certainly didn't do that well, what has happened to him? He has been


promoted, to apparently try to make the doctors love him. When an


article today said he was without doubt the most loathed Secretary of


State for Culture, Media and Sport. This is not like a reshuffle


deserving merit. He was subject to the vote of censure in parliament?


The Liberal Democrats took the view they couldn't support him. You are


happy to see him in charge of the health service? These choices are


made by the Prime Minister. And remember, that the central purpose


of this coalition Government is to seek to restore the economic


stability of this country. That is right at the heart of what we do.


It is also why, if I may say so, there are things in the coalition


agreement that I wouldn't be happy about, which you have to accept to


achieve the central trust. brings us to the matter of David


Laws. He was a man suspended from parliament parliament for how he


behaved, is he fit to be in Government? If you have read the


report which the commissioner wrote in relation to that. You will have


seen that he went to great lengths to point out that what David Laws


had done, was in an effort to conceal his sexuality, he could


have, if he had chosen to use his own house in the constituency, as


the basis for his claims, he could have claimed very much more. The


point is, that David Laws has a very substantial contribution to


make. He is universally regarded in the House of Commons. He is a fit


man to be in Government? He's universally regarded on all sites


of the House. He's a fit man to be in Government? Yes, otherwise the


Prime Minister wouldn't have appointed him, and Nick Clegg would


not have endorsed that appointment. If you are talking about merit. You


need to look at Chris Grayling's appointment, it was because he did


such a great job of Work and Pensions, he's now promoted. We


have Maria Miller and also Theresa Villiers, were moated into cabinet.


-- promoted into cabinet. She has to decide in the next few weeks on


the Leveson Inquiry, will she stand up to David Cameron on that?


think she's very capable. Theresa Villiers has gone to Northern


Ireland this afternoon and it is rioting this afternoon. That is


hardly anything to do with her? What on earth is the Prime Minister


doing giving these responsible jobs to people at this particular time.


You mean she's incompetent, because there is riots going on in Northern


Ireland, a woman can't go, is that what you are saying, you wouldn't


say it about a man? I would say it about anyone that inexperienced to


do a job, irrespective of their sex. You didn't say that about mow moul


lamb. She -- Mo Mowlam. She spent years making relationships.


didn't know it at the start. Maybe the Prime Minister is not thinking


about the quality of Government, instead what he's thinking about is


the management of my group within parliament. Good Government is


suffering as a result. We will leave it there. No-one goes hungry


in the 21st century in Britain. We live in a welfare state, don't we.


Ever since the great reforming Government of 1945 promised to slay


the five great giants of idleness, ignorance, disease, squalor and


want, that has been the working assumption. In the last five years


there has been an explosion in the number of people being fed, not


from earnings or benefits, but from using food banks. In 2007, the


Trussle Trust fed nearly 40,000 people. By the year of the election


they were feeding 60,000, a figure that doubled. This year and next


they are expecting to feed 200,000. We set out to find out why, in a


land of plenty so many are going hungry. They say you can tell a


poor area by how many chicken joints it has. By that definition,


Coventryry has its fair share of poverty. This is a typical Midlands


industrial city, with 306,000, and by the City Council's own


statistics, 69,000 of them living on the breadline. As Britain has


dipped, again, into recession, professionals dealing with poverty


have noticed the rise of something new. I have watched people sitting


down cooking oven-baked chips and mayonaise, and that is their main


evening meal, with children and with health problems. In some ways


this recession has been kinder than expected, unemployment never topped


three million, house repossessions never became catastrophic. It is


all the more strange that across Britain we are now seeing something


we haven't really seen since the 1930s. That is hunger.


This is what it looks like when somebody else gets to pick the food


your family is going to eat. It is a food bank in Coventry. The


Trussell Trust, the charity that runs these places, is opening two


or three new ones every week. All the food is donated, and it is of


high quality, but demand is high too. And growing, and I have come


here to find out why. This family, including a four-week-old baby,


have been referred here for an emergency food donation. What has


brought you here? Benefit changes. I had my daughter move in with me,


move back from her father's, and I had a new baby. So because they had


to be added on to my claim, it caused it to fail. Too many


children living in my house, and it's not working out on the


computer. So no benefits are coming into the house? I'm getting my


child benefit. Child Tax Credit for the rest of the children, but not


two. What does that mean in terms of food? It means that I am not


having the money to go shopping, I can just cover my bills. If we went


back to your house right now, what food would be in the cupboard?


bit of rice and some bread. I haven't anything else in, at all.


This, it turns out, is not unusual. On top of people whose claims fail


accidentally, there has been massive spike in the number of


people getting their jobseeker's allowance stopped temporarily, or


sanctioned, as it is called. 167,000 people, in the first three


months of this year. Go to DWP and asking for crisis loans is landing


myself in more debt. I think I'm hitting the �900 mark of being in


debt, because my benefits keep being stopped and started, and just


not knowing where I am with benefits at all. What you get here


is food to feed a family for three days, and since it opened, the


Coventry centre has fed 10,000 people that way. For just under


half of them, it is this problem of benefit disruption that has left


them hungry. We do some generic statistical analysis, we know 43%


of people who present at food bank, it is down to a benefit delay, a


benefit change or crisis loan refused. It is reasonable to expect


people to apply for a certain number of jobs per week, yes. But


if you fail that particular test, and you have a sanction, the


sanction can be there for weeks. Now the logic flaw in that is


exactly where do you expect people to go and find money during that


period, if job seekers is supposed to be the point of last resort in


terms of income. Often people's circumstances change, sometimes


they just don't obey the rules of the benefit system? All of that


happens as well. And you then find them walking through the door


hungry. We become the backstop of the benefit system. Foodbanks don't


feed everyone, they aim to address the root cause of the crisis.


But if hatch the people at foodbanks have fall -- half the


people at foodbanks have fallen through the benefits system, what


about the other half. Why are there thousands of people with jobs in


this one city who can't feed themselves? We have seen the queue


out the front increase in the last year, 18 months. We have about 15


people queuing from 8.00am in the morning, by the time we open at


9.15, there are are 30 people waiting to be seen. That happens on


a day-by-day basis. The Citizens Advice Bureau is one of the


agencies in Coventry that can refer people to the foodbank. They have


identified the other big cause of food poverty, debt. Unfortunately,


and horrifically, it is often the food is the thing that is having to


give when people are trying to pay creditors. They are using high-


interest lenders, pay-day loans, to try to get through their week.


Sometimes it is the food, sometimes it is the heating. There is a


saying, we have people either heat or eat.


Expensive credit, for poor people, is the new boom industry in Britain,


as well as the pawnbrokers and pay day loan shops, there are also


doorstep lender. The interest rates are massive, many people struggle


to pay them, but the question is, why do they end up prioritising


debt over food. I'm going to advise the one of our clients, who because


of health problems...Mary Shine is a case worker at the Citizens


Advice Bureau, she and her colleagues are referring about ten


people a week to the foodbank. And where debt is involved, there is


often a doorstep lender who has first call on the money. Doorstep


lending is always about preying on people who are unable to access


high street banks, get a loan, a cheap loan, or an overdraft, or a


credit card. They also have this thing where they befriend them. So


it is not the man from the credit company, it is, my friend Tom, who


has been coming for years. So if you are faced with having to say to


Tom, I can't pay my debts this week, it feels bad? It feels bad, they


feel they are letting Tom down. He will say he will lose his comiing,


and you are letting me down -- commission, and you are letting me


down, and they are guilt tripped into making the payments. What is


the result for families? They are paying �20 a week to the doorstep


lender out of their food bill. is this priority given to debt


repayment, not just doorstep debt, but council tax and rent arrears,


that explains why even people in work end up at the foodbank. Even


now there is not a lot of people know I use foodbank. To have to


admit to myself I'm not cope, I'm in debt management, and I need help


with food to feed my family. It is not nice. Christina Thomas has a


job, but came to the foodbank after an acute family crisis forced her


on to Statutory Sick Pay, and her debts went out of control. I was


trying to help my oldest son while he was in financial difficulty, and


obviously taking care of my teenage boy as well. Even though I was


working part-time, it was like after rent, council tax, all the


household bills, there was never enough for the rest. It became more


of about debt all the time, rather than having any surplus from my


wages. What would happen if this place didn't exist, in some places


they don't exist. What would happen? Things become really hard


for me. Really, really hard for me. It is something I don't


particularly want to think about, because things are hard already. It


took things to get that bad for me to pick up the phone in the first


place, and meet someone like Gavin. And say, you know, I'm not coping.


I'm trying, but I'm not coping. These are two stories from one


foodbank. There are 250 foodbanks across the UK. And last year they


fed 130,000 people. The welfare system is supposed to be a safety


net, but on the evidence we found, about half of all the hunger being


officially dealt with, is caused by people, not falling through it, but


being forced through it by the system itself. The real safety net


is now churches, and charity. As benefits are cut, and rules


tightened. The foodbanks expect to be seeing a lot more people soon.


Chris Mould is director of the Trussell Trust, which runs more


than 250 foodbanks, like the one you saw in that film. The Labour


front bencher, Stella Creasy, has campaigned for tougher regulation


of consumer credit, and the speechwriter for David Cameron when


leader of the opposition, now running a crime reduction charity.


Just for the avoidance of doubt, we are not talking here about soup


kitchens and other facilities for homeless people? We are talking


about feeding people, 85% of whom have got somewhere to live and are


not homeless. We say they are on the brink of homelessness sometimes,


and the foodbank is the reason why they are not rendered homelessness.


We agree it is a mark of failure, in some way, that people have to


resort to a foodbank. The question is, what is the failure? To me this


is a story of responsibility. The failure of responsibility, and the


fulfilment of responsibility. There has been over the best part of a


generation, building up a public sector debt by the Government. And


at the same time huge failure of responsibility from banks, lenders


and households building up unsustainable levels of private


debt. That is a failure of responsibility. There is some


public policy failures about the administration of benefits. What we


see here, and a tremendous stories, communities, churches, and


charities, communities spontaneously responding to this


terrible need, and rising up to meet the need in their own


communities. In many ways this is a positive thing. I -- I don't want


to misrepresent you, it is a terrible thing and a tragedy, but


it is a positive response to a horrible situation? It is that


communities are responding so well. I don't know what planet you are


living on, one of the reasons I started campaigning on pay-day


lenders is because I could see the damage they were doing to my local


community. These are people not borrowing for luxuries, but basic


essentials, food. You are saying households are rung up debts they


shouldn't. When I see people in Waltham stow who have too much


month at the end of their money, it is for transport costs and getting


to work and rent. It is inexcusable that people are failing to act on


the cost of consumer credit in this country, because you can see the


damage it is doing. There is an equal issue that people on low


incomes have been suffering a flatlining for years. People who


have to depend on tax credits and benefits, have not had those raised


anything like sufficient to deal with food price rises. Oxfam have


done their own research and tell us in the last five years food prices


have gone up 30.5%. This isn't about people becoming more


irresponsible than they used to be. This is about a larger proportion


of society finding it harder than they ever have done before, to make


ends meet. That's what I think is wrong. We, as a charity, are


committed to launching food banks in every community, because we


think communities should be present, active and involved in supporting


those in crisis. It is a failure of the welfare state that there are so


many people in cry he is, we have to be realist, there will be people


with their pensions stolen, people with probbleplts with a fire in a


house -- problems with a fire in a house, people with a problem on


losing their jobs, company going bust, and a hiatus while we sort


out whether or not they can get jobseeker's allowance and so on.


There is those things. But this is a volume increase that is not


acceptable. We spend �150 billion a year in this country on welfare.


You are saying it is not enough? I'm not saying that the amount that


is spent is not enough. What I'm saying is that we face reality.


There are a large number and growing number of people in the


country who do not have enough money to get to the end of the week


and being supported by foodbanks. The question is, if you take a


broader look at tax-payers' money and how it is spent, if they are


not fed and lose their house, and a family broken up, the costs to the


taxpayer, consequential is much higher. Net numbers did a survey of


people struggling to feed -- net mums did a survey about people


struggling to feed their children, a third of those revealed they were


receiving mental health treatment in the anxiety of being poor. That


costs a lot more of putting the situation right in the first place,


with the proper policy on welfare. What do you say to someone who says


there is a problem with the benefits system, bureaucracies are


inefficient at times, and there have to be penalties for people who


don't seek work, and there comes a time when people are crucially


short of funds. There is no alternative to this sort of


operation, is there? No, and I don't think we should object to the


fact that it has sprung up. It is the consequence of policy?


problem with policy is we have a vastly centralised welfare state,


whereby we attempt to implement universal rules, with no respect or


recognition of the very difficult particular circumstances that


families find themselves in. I think it is not surprising we get


into these terrible bureaucratic tangles at the centre of Government


W a department responsible for administering millions of people's


personal incomes from a single office in the centre of London. We


need to localise welfare, so local communities are more responsible


for the way welfare is handed out. I think there does need to be a


greater role for independent organisations like Chris's, who


actually have proper relationships with the people they are working


with, they know the people they are handing out food to. They can


decide when that is needed and when it isn't. They can begin to treat


benefit claimants as human beings rather than statistics. But to


employ sanctions upon people, to say, you will not get your benefit,


if you don't do X or Y, that is not to treat people as human beings?


is, it is to treat them as responsible human beings who have


to make choices for themselves like everybody else. There is ultimately


a limit to the amount of money the taxpayer has to spend on people. It


is good and right that the community, society as a whole,


takes responsibility for the distuet and the poor. I'm sorry, I


represent one of the communities you are talking about. The people I


represent saying they are not responsible is hog wash. You are


talking about treating the symptoms not the cause. You believe in


sanctions too? I run jobs fairs in my local community and hundreds of


people turn up. They want good, decent well paid jobs, and a


Government creative in helping them. Why isn't the Government doing


something about the cost of energy, it is going up, we could do


something about the cartels running the industries, it could cut one


bill coming in this winter. Not something about the cost of credit


and transport. It is not just about the welfare state, Danny, good


Government is creative, intelligent and works with local communities to


tackle the problems. Could you help us on the policies, where do you


get your money from? From the public and grant-makers. No money


from Government at all. Can people come to you indefinitely? No they


can't. We offer at least three days of nutritionally balanced food, and


we will help people for up to two weeks and there about. There is a


straight forward reason for that. We are in support of health


visitors, social workers and others, we want to collaberate, and make


sure that the Government services actually pick up the long-term


responsibility. That is a good thing? Absolutely, the things I do


in my local community are about partnership. People in Waltham stow


don't just need us to work together to get rid of the worst choices of


the Government. If people are out of work they are not paying taxes,


the amount of money to invest is going down too. It is false economy.


When we know what works in tackling the illegal loan sharks. We all


want more jobs and the growth that will create that jobs. We all want


clever Government that reduces the cost of living. Tell them to get on


with it. They are trying hard. There is a huge problem with the


welfare culture, you talk about your community, the community I


work with is people involved in crime or at risk of getting


involved in crime. They are the products of generations of


welfareism, it is a culture, they are not expected to work for a


living, they should be waiting on Government to sort out all their


problems, it is enovated the spir the of too many inner city families.


There is huge Welfare Bills. There has to be an end. The Government


has to reduce the spending for economic reasons, but more


important is the moral responsibility and has to bring


back spirit. I'm as tough as anyone with the people who don't take


chances offered, why does the Government cancel the Future Jobs


Fund. You are making a broader political point. The reality has to


be more than half the people, half of 200,000 people that we help this


coming year will be in work. In households that are working. We


have a serious problem in the country with inequality, with lowk


in its and rising prices. -- low incomes, with rising prices, rents


going up. We heard on the film all the pressures people have to face.


The one bit that gives is the food that they put on the table. Often


it is the food that parents put on the table for themselves. They


prioritise the children, but even then, we end up feeding 45,000


children last year. Tomorrow save the children will launch a


fundraising campaign for British youngsters for the -- Save The


Children will launch a fundraising campaign for British youngsters for


the first time ever. We will hear from children affected by the


recession tomorrow. We are struggling to pay the bills. My dad


works two jobs, but I don't really get to see him much. When he's off


Download Subtitles