The 14 Words

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Charities condemn Iain Spuncan Smith for food bank snub

Requests for meetings with work and pensions secretary to discuss growing crisis have been refused

A 'caring' Conservative, Ian Spuncan Smith

Iain Duncan Smith, the embattled work and pensions secretary, is refusing to meet leaders of the rapidly expanding Christian charity that has set up more than 400 food banks across the UK, claiming it is "scaremongering" and has a clear political agenda.

The news will fuel a growing row over food poverty, as church leaders and the [phoney] Labour party accuse ministers of failing to recognise the growing crisis hitting hundreds of thousands of families whose incomes are being squeezed, while food prices soar.

Responding to requests for a meeting from Chris Mould, chairman of theTrussell Trust, which has provided food supplies to more than 500,000 people since April, Duncan Smith has dismissed claims that the problems are linked to welfare reforms and attacked the charity for publicity-seeking. In his most recent response on 22 November, Duncan Smith made clear that he had received enough letters from the trust and referred Mould to his previous answers. His deputy, Lord Freud, the minister for welfare reform, also explicitly rejected an invitation for talks on 30 August, telling the trust's chairman that he was "unable to take up your offer of a meeting".

Mould, whose organisation is struggling to keep up with ever-increasing demand for its services, said that he and his army of volunteers could not understand why ministers were refusing to listen to their suggestions for easing the plight of the hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need.
"To them, it doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense to me either. We are deeply disappointed, but we are as open as ever to meet ministers in the hope that perhaps the new year will bring a fresh approach to what could so easily have been a fruitful dialogue." 
Mould also told Duncan Smith he is not opposed, for political reasons, to welfare reform.

In 2010, the Trussell Trust provided food to around 41,000 people, but in the past eight months the number has increased to more than half a million, a third of whom are children.


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