THERE are currently 270 food banks across the UK where poverty-stricken workers and youth are directed to get subsistence amounts of food.
As the capitalist crisis deepens, the number of food banks increases, and continues to do so.
A record number of people have received emergency food from the UK food banks in the last six months, the Trussell Trust charity said yesterday.
It found that the banks have fed 110,000 people since April providing them with three days’ worth of food.
The charity’s expectation is that it will feed more than 200,000 people in 2012-2013.
The food banks are not open to every hungry person. To get food from them you have to be referred by a doctor, social worker or schools liaison officer.
The Trussell Trust says that a new food bank is being launched in the UK every three days.
Another charity said yesterday that one-in-five people working in London is being paid ‘poverty wages’.
The Trust for London study added that the number of jobs paying below the ‘London living wage’ of £8.30 an hour rose by 100,000 to 580,000 between 2010 and 2011.
Meanwhile, official propaganda has it that the pace of inflation in the UK in September slowed to 2.2% from 2.5% in August on the CPI index.
The RPI rate of inflation, which includes mortgage payments, is said to have fallen to 2.6% from 2.9% in August.
The CPI level in September is used to work out the rise in a range of benefits from Jobseeker’s Allowance to income support in April next year.
The CPI level was more than half the rate seen in September 2011, when it stood at 5.2%.
However, it turns out that the biggest force pushing down the indices’ measure of inflation was an accounting adjustment, not a massive fall in food, transport or energy prices. The large rise in utility bills last September simply fell out of the annual comparison.
In September last year, electricity bills rocketed up 7.5% and gas prices 13%. These rises have now been written out of the inflation rate!
This means that while next year’s benefit rise in April will be slashed in line with September’s ‘fall’ in inflation, the poorest will be feeling the impact of the huge rises in gas and electricity prices that have just been announced by four of the UK’s big six energy suppliers.
The real value of benefits, due to be cut in April because of the technical inflation readjustment, will be further slashed by these huge new rises!
Clearly, millions more are to be thrown over the edge of the abyss into acute poverty.
The time has come for the trades unions to take their place as the real defenders of the workers, the poor and the youth.
The TUC trades unions must draw up their own cost of living index, made up of the rise in food, fuel, energy, housing and transport costs on which the average family spends its available cash, or gets deep into borrowing cash from the moneylenders that are now on every high street.
The unions must demand monthly rises in wages and benefits to match the real rises in this trade union cost of living index, so that living standards are not driven down to 1930s levels, in order for the poor to pay the huge multi-trillion debts of the bankers and the bosses.
This policy can only hold the fort for the working class and the poor while the capitalist collapse is developing.
The only real solution to this crisis is for the working class to force the trades unions to call an indefinite general strike to bring down the coalition and bring in a workers government that will expropriate the bosses and the bankers and bring in socialism and a socialist planned economy. This is now a life and death question for the working class and the poor.