'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

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Sunshine Meadows

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 31 Jul 2016 10:11AM
Thank you Sunny and Monic your posts cover a lot of ground and letting us know things are not straightforward.
 >thumbsup< >star<

Sunny Clouds

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 31 Jul 2016 07:45PM
I can see why people aren't always keen on foodbanks - so many are run by churches, following the teachings of a bloke who fed 5000 without checking their credentials first.

Gosh, that's almost as bad as giving first aid to a stranger after an accident without checking first to see who caused the accident.

We really must be careful these days not to help people unless we've made them jump through enough hoops.

(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

JLR2

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 31 Jul 2016 07:55PM
''Sorry but your checks on people in need are in no way of the same standard that operates where I live''

Lankou Monic is not where you live.

''....but when it is a group if people being paid a high wage as well as claiming JSA and their employer is complicit in the fraud it is my civic duty to report it.''

Well a big cheer and slap on the back for you Lankou, feel better do you?  Now how about giving your posting of what near enough amounts to vitriol a rest?  Monic does and has done her best to help many here on Ouch Too.

lankou

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 31 Jul 2016 07:58PM


We really must be careful these days not to help people unless we've made them jump through enough hoops.

Using a sticking plaster when a field dressing is needed is NOT helping people, and neither is handing out food without investigating why people have no money to buy food, and to sort out those reasons.
(I am somewhat shocked at the attitude being shown on this forum.)
The DWP won't believe it is their fault in the main that people end up needing food banks and collecting data to show them is part of the process.
Just handing out food is next to useless. (Thankfully few organisations are doing that and nothing else.)

lankou

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 31 Jul 2016 08:00PM
  Now how about giving your posting of what near enough amounts to vitriol a rest?  Monic does and has done her best to help many here on Ouch Too.

I am NOT using vitriol, I am shocked at the attitude of some people on this forum. I just do not expect it, given the problems many of the people have or have had.

JLR2

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 31 Jul 2016 08:02PM
''I am somewhat shocked at the attitude being shown on this forum''

I suspect you are nowhere near as shocked as I am with regards to the attitude you have been showing on this particular thread Lankou. If I might ask, is there something happening in your own life that has seen or brought about this change in the Lankou I and I feel many others here on Ouch Too thought they knew and on many occasions had reason to thank for your input?

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 31 Jul 2016 08:35PM
If the DWP sanction someone and stop paying them their JSA the DWP know that person lost their income. They dont need food bank stats about which of the deserving poor got three food parcels in a year.

If a food bank is run by a charity they have to abide by certain rules to maintain charitable status and I very much doubt it includes

Quote
The DWP won't believe it is their fault in the main that people end up needing food banks and collecting data to show them is part of the process.




Sunny Clouds

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 31 Jul 2016 10:15PM
Since Lankou is off on one, I'll go off on one. 

If I give food for free, it is entirely my business to whom I give it and upon what terms.

If I and others with a shared interest give food or anything else for free, it is our business to whom we give it and upon what terms, save that we should not be discriminatory in how we do it, and even then, there is large scope for choice.

There is a difference between what we as a society say that people's entitlements as members of that society should be and what we choose to give personally in addition to that.

As for charitable status, at the risk of boring people, it is essentially a tax status and the criteria, which date back to Elizabeth the first, are not as specific as people might think. 

I find it really offensive that people and organisations that are generous on a personal level with no legal obligation should be expected to act as an arm of state and be told whom they should help and on what terms, beyond the very basic criteria that relate to tax status.

When Jesus said that if we fed and clothed a poor man we were feeding and clothing him, he didn't say we were only doing it if we interviewed them in detail first and kept detailed records.

Perhaps you'd like to introduce a load of bookkeeping requirements in relation to my tithe as well?  Is there a limit to how much I may put in the collection and how much I may give to beggars and how much I may...well, you get the picture.

As for the sticking plaster and field dressing analogy, if you come across someone in the street who needs a field dressing, you're under no moral obligation to interview them at length as to why they need one before offering them the sticking plaster in your pocket, and in England (unlike in some countries), there is no 'Samaritan's Law' that requires you to call for assistance for them.  It's nice if you do, but it's not legally required.

Yes, I'm on my high horse, but I have always resented being told that I and others can't give our own money or possessions (i.e. that which we have left after paying taxes) to whom we choose.  If we want to dig in our pockets and share what we have with others, that's our choice.

I'm sure everyone here is aware of the following:-

1. Poorer people pay a higher proportion of their income in tax than richer people because a higher proportion of what they spend their money on is taxed, e.g. VAT-able products make up a higher proportion of a poor man's expenditure than a rich man's expenditure; and because there are higher interest rates on larger sums of money and more tax loopholes for richer people.

2. Despite that, by and large, poorer people are also more generous when it comes to charity and community giving.

So if you want to impose more red tape and regulations on what people spend their post-tax income on, start with the rich people, not the ordinary people putting tins in baskets at the supermarket or volunteering their own, unpaid time that they might otherwise be spending earning very much needed extra income, helping to distribute it.

My money, my choice, and that includes food parcels. 



(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

ditchdwellers

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 31 Jul 2016 11:11PM
The only experience I have of food banks is donating items. In my local co-op it is very well supported. Some of the items are basics but there is a fair selection of 'treats' too.  For example around shrove Tuesday  someone had donated several packs of premade pancake mix and lemon juice. I always try to put in one basic item such as rice or pasta and one 'treat' such as some nice chocolate biscuits or cakes.
Although people in need of a food parcel need fundamental items to make a meal oor @ local food bank also asks for 'treats' too. After all, everyone deserves a great every now and then particularly if children are involved.

I live in a supposedly wealthy area where there is a great deal of hidden poverty. I have a friend who needed to use a food bank and was referred by her gp. You would never have realised she was in such need as she hid her difficulties well. But the help she was given was invaluable.

Different places have different 'rules'.  The country is diverse with diverse communities and diverse needs. Anger should be directed at the draconian benefit sanctions not at the people trying to help.

lankou

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 01 Aug 2016 09:15AM


My money, my choice, and that includes food parcels.

That is ok if you are direct giving to someone. It is not OK when people have donated money/food to a charity to distribute.
It is also not OK to give out food parcels to people without determining exactly why they have no money, and doing back up checks, counselling where necessary and sorting the reasons they have no money out.

Not determining reasons  is NOT helping those people merely prolonging their misery.

(This is a totally separate issue to organisations who provide hot food to the needy as one local charity does to children during school holidays.)
That charity uses the data from the food bank they also run to determine that need.

 




NeuralgicNeurotic

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 01 Aug 2016 10:09AM
Reading through this thread, it's very apparent that everyone who has contributed cares passionately about helping people keep afloat during troubled times, and righting the wrongs done to people who are poor, marginalised or otherwise trampled on by the government.

L'Ankou, I think your characterisation of Monic's remarks has been unfair. I understand why you said it, but disagree with what you said, if that makes sense.

Go through the Welfare Rights section of the forum, and read the advice Monic has taken the time and trouble to give to those of us who need it. She has helped me to survive the whole ESA process, and I'm intensely grateful to her.   

I can well understand that when you spend your own time trying to help people on the wrong end of government policy, that you would experience a very strong reaction to anything that looks like DWP propaganda, but I honestly don't think that's what Monic's post was about. I've been in MH day centres with people who were in the grip of addiction problems, and who did dishonest things out of sheer desperation. They weren't bad people, they were just in a desperate situation. Saying that isn't agreeing with the government, it's just acknowledging failures in the support system.

I hope this post didn't come across as having a go at you. It wasn't intended to. I'd just hate to see people I like and respect falling out because they work in different organisations, in different parts of the country and deal with different social problems.


 >bighugs< >bighugs< >bighugs<

Sunny Clouds

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 01 Aug 2016 11:04AM
Lankou - so are you saying that only charities that have the resources to do checks etc. should give out food?

Ok, my standard rant on charities.

Charities are not an arm of state.

All that a charity is is the following - it's a type of trust that has a particular type of tax concession.  A trust is merely a legal arrangement whereby one person (the trustee) holds monies or property for the benefit of someone else (the beneficiary).  Non-charitable trusts typically pop up in the context of inheritance, looking after funds for someone who can't do it themselves, and investments.

A charity has no legal obligation to be nice.  It merely has an obligation to set out to deal with certain things such as education, health, poverty etc.  When established by the Statute of Elizabeth, they were what amounted to the welfare state, but with no obligation to be fair.  To put it in perspective, all the top public schools are charities.  Lawfully so.

Most charities are small.  When I say small, I mean the sort of size where they're lucky if they can scrape together enough funding for one full-time paid employee.  Those that aren't very small  may still not be very large.

A charity that has a foodbank doesn't necessarily have lots of money.  Actually, it may have no paid staff at all and no premises of its own and no regular volunteers save the trustees.

Not all foodbanks are Trussell foodbanks by a long chalk, but those that are aren't part of the Trussell Trust except in the sense of affiliation, similar to a franchise, being able to use the logo and the way of doing things.  They have to pay to do that.  They buy the right to be part of that group.  But they are not part of the Trussell Trust as a legal entity, the trustees of Trussell Trust are not the trustees of the foodbanks.  (I say that without prejudice to whether the Trust may still have one or a few directly owned foodbanks.)

So a foodbank, including one using the Trussell branding, may consist of a few trustees who spend a  little of their free time managing the funding and getting a paid or volunteer co-ordinator to either run the bank or co-ordinate other volunteers.  They may not be in a position to open on regular days or frequently.  They may be very reliant on donors or collectors from donors to deliver the food to them.

I really, really wish that the Charity Commission would run a big PR campaign explaining what charities are and about how they're not mostly like the few very big ones we hear of frequently such as Oxfam, or those with energetic trustees and an urge to speak out publicly on things.

So you, Lankou, may think it immoral to feed someone without carrying out lots of checks as to why they need food, but I think it immoral to let food go to waste and people go hungry in order that only medium to large organisations can give out food.

I have picked up food off the ground after the market closed for want of enough to eat.  If the stallholders had got together and formed a charity for the purpose of keeping one stall open, manned by each stallholder in turn, an extra 15 min a day to give out, free or cheap, the day's leftovers of bruised, squashed, misshapen fruit and veg, I would have been grateful, not demanded why they didn't spend all their time putting in funding applications to hire someone to grill people as to why they needed the food.

And for me, the principle would have been the same had they put the unsold food in boxes or allowed passers by to add food to the stall/boxes.

The consequence of saying you can't set up a charity to feed people for free unless you try to sort out their wider problems or interview them or whatever is to say that either you have to set up a trust without the tax concession, which may not be worth doing because of the paperwork, or you stop providing the service and do what is still sometimes done but no so often these days, and just spread word on the street where to leave free food.  Round here, it used to be under the lych gate of one parish church, round a couple of the local public benches, in the dark entry where you could also buy street drugs and stolen goods.  You get the picture.

I've been trustee of various charities.  I've set up a charity.  I've done the paperwork for other nascent charities and for  charities needing help to apply for grants.  Your everyday charity is not a big set-up. 

And foodbanks - if you say that they can't operate if they don't have enough staff, accommodation etc. to be able to do more than gather in the food and hand it out, what you're doing is meaning that either people go back to 'Leave it at the back of the church hall and ask no questions who takes it,' or 'Let it go to waste because we have the resources to help our brothers and sisters not go so hungry but not the resources for a load of bureaucracy to keep the anti-charity people happy.'

Incidentally, when the bible says not to harvest our fields to the edges or pick our gleanings or go back for the missed grapes because we must leave that for the widows and travellers/strangers, it doesn't say we must carefully vet the widows to make sure they've nothing they could sell and the travellers to see whether they're going from town to town just living on leftover crops when they could get a  job as a farmhand.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 01 Aug 2016 11:32AM
But don't worry, Lankou, I'm sure it won't be long before the government decides foodbanks are too embarassing and  brings in a whole raft of legal requirements and prohibitions on who they can feed, and we can go back to leaving food under the lych gate or by the park bench.

And I daresay that I shall still be fruitlessly trying to explain to people here and in other disability forums where people seem to be so anti-charity just what a charity is, how small many are, how ordinary and everyday many are, and how reliant we mostly are without even realising it, whether it's the little local toy library that sets up in the lobby of the nursery for a couple of hours each fortnight or the residents' group that does lots of things that we just took for granted get done without ever stopping to think who did them or volunteering to do them ourselves.

And I shall also be fruitlessly explaining that not all kindnesses are done via the charitable model and charitable or not, many are done by individuals and small groups of volunteers that would stop doing it if you made it more onerous.  If you ask people giving their time for free to do a lot more for free, including co-ordinating the different sorts of people doing it for free and maybe fundraising, you stand a good chance of not getting anything done.

He who pays the piper calls the tune.  If you're not, directly or via your elected representative and government, paying for a service, you don't have the right to tell others how to do it, save in terms of things like health and safety and in terms of general legal issues such as not selling certain recreational substances etc.

Shame on all those that would seek to stop those giving of what they can by making them do things that aren't necessary.  What next?  You can't give out a food parcel until you've given someone dietary advice? 

Shame on anyone that would see food go in the bin and people go hungry unless a foodbank acts like an arm of the state.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

NeuralgicNeurotic

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 01 Aug 2016 11:41AM
Quote
Shame on anyone that would see food go in the bin and people go hungry unless a foodbank acts like an arm of the state.

>bighugs<

lankou

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Re: 'Benefits cards' back on the agenda

  • on: 01 Aug 2016 11:47AM
Lankou - so are you saying that only charities that have the resources to do checks etc. should give out food?


I am stating that handing people a food parcel without an in depth check as to why they have ended up needing one is making the problem worse not better.
Locally I don't know of any charity other than "soup kitchen" charities who don't do checks.
Locally the vast majority of people who are issued with food bank vouchers have come to the attention of a food voucher issuer for some other reason when their plight has become obvious due to investigations already carried out.
The follow up checks after issuing vouchers are part of that.
Basically the DWP does not like food banks because of the number of DWP cockups and sanctions that should never have happened that they are uncovering.