Food bank use is tiny: Duncan Smith

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Published: Sunday 14th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Use of food banks in the UK is “tiny” compared to Germany, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said.

The Tory minister said there were many reasons why people relied on them and that insisting it was just to do with benefits was “quite wrong”.

His comments come after the Church of England-backed Feeding Britain report identified delays in welfare payments and sanctioning of claimants as key factors driving disadvantaged households to food banks.

Mr Duncan Smith told the BBC’s Sunday Politics that people going back to work were less likely to want to use food banks.

He added: “In Germany, food banks are used every week by 1.5 million people. It is tiny in proportion here compared to a place like Germany which has more generous benefits and in which you have a higher level of pay.

“So just saying it is to do with benefits is quite wrong.

“W hat I do say is there are lots of other reasons lots of people go to food banks.”

He also defended the speed with which benefits are processed, saying that when the Coalition came into power only 88-89% of payments were on time compared to 96-97% now.

But he accepted that the advanced payment all job seekers are entitled to needed to be better publicised.

He said: “If they have a difficulty financially, there is money available to tide them over any particular area or time they have a problem with.

“Available to every single person in a job centre who is making a claim is, say they have an issue or a problem, they can get an advanced payment. Now what the report said which I agreed with was that we need to do more to advertise that. So we are doing that now and I accepted that.”

Mr Duncan-Smith also said limiting child benefit to the first two in a family was “one of the proposals well worth looking at” and added: ” It helps behavioural change.”

On Personal Independence Payments he accepted the early phases did not go “exactly according to plan”, but insisted: “All of those delays will be back on track by end of year.”

He said Employment Support Allowance was in need of reform, but pointed out the appeals level had fallen to “hardly any at all”.

And housing benefit fell in real terms for the first time last year, he added, after the Government inherited a programme “out of control”.

Published: Sunday 14th December 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (1)
  • john brown

    DUNCAN SMITH AND ALL HE,S FELLOW PEOPLE IN GOV KNOW NOTHING ABOUT HARDSHIP, THEY SIT ON THERE FAT AZZES , AND ARE WELL OVER PAYED FOR DOING SWEET F/A………… TO HELP ANYONE BUT THERE SELF.

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