Food Banks and Hunting

I travel regularly to the South West of England, to give a seminar I enjoy. Whilst waiting for my train afterwards, I often while away an hour or two in one of Bath's cosy, relaxed pubs, or in the hotel bar across from the railway station. Just overhearing people this past year has been interesting.

There was a significant migration of London service businesses and creatives and so on to Bath, for instance, some time ago. This has tended to raise prices in a city in which asset values were pushed up by the demand of older people who'd made their money, and the restriction of supply of houses anyway.

Yet wages do not seem to have significantly risen. Some of the working people to whom I've chatted there, or who I have overheard, are on London weekly wages--but per month. I've talked to engineers who have found time tight and their consultancy money disappearing. Just about everyone as far as I can tell is on their uppers.

So I was interested in the following video, which I came across on Exile's site this morning. In it, a hunting man takes his wife and children to church, to get food, admits to hunting for the same--a new one on me, in twenty first century England--and the way 'food banks' are popping up all over the South, and elsewhere, is discussed. It's from a French TV station that, in the past, went out of its way to hunt down 'alternative' stories of the British economy, but has a sad ring of truth about it. Have a look...

Comments

Mary said…
This is scarey.
Martin Meenagh said…
Up to a point; but this is exactly what charities should be doing. I've gone on about 'fake charities', which effectively serve as holding centres for political interns and which are funded by the state to create the appearance of independent support for the things it wants to do. However, Food banks seem to be good, solid self-help, often Christian.

Times are very difficult. Most of the time, I want my 'society is broken, this country is degenerate, we're all doomed economically' analyses to be proved wrong, even a little. It is a sad story, this one; I wish that the poverty here wasn't happening. But there is a little hope in it. Wait till the government gets its greasy paws over them, though, in local or in national form....
Mary said…
Well, I've just watched the tent city videos that you put up. Really it's quite upsetting...and it is happening everywhere. In Australia, these places are springing up. Martin was talking to a man on Saturday who can no longer pay his bills and is having to leave his rented flat and move to the city outskirts. There, the rent will be less, but as he said, if he can't earn some money it's only delaying the inevitable.
Martin Meenagh said…
If I hadn't got a good teaching contract to supplement my income, I'd be in the same position. Forty million have lost their jobs across the G-20 on conventional estimates; many, many more are like the man Martin met, living from cheque to cheque. What irks me most are the journalists and policy people going on about regulation, or recovery, or confidence. This crisis is fundamental.

I didn't know of the tent cities in Australia--they are appearing wherever globalisation was fiercest, but we have just about avoided them here--so far....
Martin Meenagh said…
Don't get so down though that you worry we won't get through. Reason and common effort usually work, in the end. it's getting there that worries me, since governments seem reliable only in doing mostly the wrong thing.
Mary said…
I don't want to mislead you here, but I did read recently, that people who were marginalised in the city, failing to cope with the cost of living, were moving to the coastal areas and ending up living permanently on camp-sites. I don't suppose this is a tent city, in the true sense of the word.
Martin Meenagh said…
ABC has this piece on Australian tent cities in Brisbane, and Melbourne, so you weren't misleading

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/06/12/2596903.htm
berenike said…
My parish runs a food bank, but the change in people coming is not like the one this video describes. Here, from what the rest of the group say (I've only been involved for a year or two, and not at the distribution end) the change in "customer profile" is towards young chancers. Unfortunately.
Mary said…
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/indepth/sydney-families-forced-onto-streets-as-recession-hits-hard/story-e6frewpr-1225715434054

Just one more depressing story.I'll stop now.
Martin Meenagh said…
Berenike--that's sad. Are they finding it hard to get food elsewhere now, or just trying it on?