Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Food Banks Suck Up To Government

Why complain that people are solving hunger with food banks?

The great joy of food banks was that government was really, really, lousy at handing out free money. This meant that people really did go hungry at times. so, charitable organisations that hand out free food for short periods of time to those who are hungry. Great, problem solved.

The vast expansion of such food banks in the past 15 years being that 15 years ago is when we first imported the technology – yes, a way of organising something is a technology – from the US.

And now, of course, that State is colonising the food banks:

Thanks to a new government scheme called the Food Charities Grant, Burgess’ food bank will soon have received a total of £46,000, under terms that restrict its use to food, leaving storage, staffing and transport costs untouched (“It’s really a blank cheque for food retailers and wholesalers,” he said.) According to the scheme’s terms, food bought with this money must have been fully distributed to people in need by 9 August 9, and there is so far no word on what will happen after that. “I think there will be a major crisis in food banks,” he told me. “We have to have money beyond that point, because there’ll be another surge in need.”

Which is really weird, isn’t it? Firstly, the appearance of, existence, food banks is because government is bad at handing out free money. So therefore government must take over handing money to food banks? And then there’s the entire joy of local, charitable, organisation by the little platoons, which is that it doesn’t end up encrusted by the bureaucracy of government which is what makes that latter so bad at handing out free money. So, to cure this we’re going to subsume it into government and encrust it with that bureaucracy?

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Spike
Spike
9 months ago

That’s right; initially in the guise of subsidy (and earmarking doesn’t matter, because every pound designated to buy food frees up another pound to pay salaries), gov’t will “crowd out” private charity. They will get dependent on state funds and politicians WILL attach conditions. Not that food banks are in “competition,” but it will gradually be infeasible to start new ones without accountants/lawyers who can qualify for the subsidy. Everyone On The Suck

jgh
jgh
9 months ago
Reply to  Spike

The government attempted this with the RNLI in the 19th century. Within a handful of years they’d almost destroyed the entire lifeboat service, and the RNLI went to great ends and through great penury to forcably expel themselves from government funding. Even now the government keeps trying to fund them to do things, and when the RNLI do get nagged into it it all goes spectacularly wrong, see the recent teaching Nigerians to swim thing.

Janner
Janner
9 months ago

Charity begins at home and ends in a department.

Snarkus
Snarkus
9 months ago
Reply to  Janner

I volunteer in a food bank and local emergency services. Now that funding for the local emergency service unit has been centralised, getting little things done has become very difficult to impossible. I dread the same stultifying control being applied to effective local charities. Some quote from someone about “All knowledge is local” being appropriate.

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