Cameron needs better counter to bishop attack

Britain’s biggest food bank provider, The Trussell Trust, handed out nearly a million parcels of emergency food in the past year, up from 347,000 in 2012/2013. The top reason for visits (accounting for 31%) was delays to benefit payments.

More than 40 Anglican bishops wrote to party leaders, urging them to “tackle the causes of food poverty, including low wages, rising food prices and an inadequate welfare benefit safety net”, reports The Guardian.

Prime Minister David Cameron wrote in The Church Times that he believed the Church of England had an “important” role to play in society. However, he also defended the coalition’s record in welfare, arguing that reforms were intended to “make work pay”.

“The prime minister has found himself the target of very well-organised Anglican opposition, and needs a better counter-argument,” says Fraser Nelson in The Daily Telegraph.

“Mr Cameron’s government does not lack a moral agenda, but does struggle to articulate one,” despite an “impressive and lengthening list of social justice achievements.” Studies show that the proportion of British people “who struggle to afford food is falling – and lower now than five years ago”.

“Food banks have grown across the Western world and across the tenures of governments of all political persuasions,” says John Glen, writing for Conservative Home on The Guardian website. The debate has polarised into those who blame ‘poor choices’ and those who blame ‘benefit cuts’. But it’s more complicated than that.

There is “seldom a discussion” of soaring house prices and utility bills, and falling savings, which have left family finances vulnerable. We need to get better evidence of the long-term causes – or we will not be able to move on from the current “sometimes unhelpfully rhetorical debate”.

• Stay up to date with MoneyWeek: Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Google+

MoneyWeek magazine

Latest issue:

Magazine cover
What a farce!

John Stepek on surviving the Greek fallout

The UK's best-selling financial magazine. Take a FREE trial today.
Claim 4 FREE Issues

From ADRs to Z scores – all the terms you wish you understood, but were too embarrassed to ask about.

Gervais Williams: if you want real dividend growth, buy small-cap stocks

Merryn Somerset Webb interviews small-cap stock expert Gervais Williams about how penny shares outperform blue chips 'again and again'.


Which investment platform is the right one for you?

When it comes to buying shares and funds, there are several investment platforms and brokers to choose from, with varying fees and charges. Find out which is best for you.


1 July 1972: Britain's first Gay Pride march is held 


On this day in 1972, the Gay Liberation Front organised Britain's first Gay Pride march from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park.


Anatomy of a Grexit: how Greece would go about leaving the euro

Jonathan Loynes and Jennifer McKeown, economists at Capital Economics, look at the key issues and challenges of a Grexit, how it might be best managed, and set out a timetable for change.