Policy of poverty

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In their defence of the status quo, your columnists, Brian Wilson (Perspective, 16 August) and Brian Monteith (Perspective, 18 August), argue that food poverty and food banks are inevitable and even more likely to be necessary in an independent Scotland.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Any government worth its salt could address the demand for emergency help with compassion and support.

Even those good people who volunteer to run the food distribution centres are clear that they would like nothing better than to be able to close their doors. Food poverty is neither necessary nor unavoidable.

The truth may be unpalatable to both Brians but the rise in demand which has led food banks to become the fastest growing part of the third sector has come about as a direct result of punitive welfare “reform” policies which the UK government is inflicting on many of our poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

It is quite deliberate and justified in the name of tough love and austerity, with scarcely any thought given to the personal humiliations and physical and psychological damage experienced by people on the receiving end.

Messrs Wilson and Monteith should get out more. A visit to a food bank on a Friday afternoon would demolish their complacency.

Martin Sime

Scottish Council for 
Voluntary Organisations

Edinburgh

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