Hundreds of thousands of Britons driven to food banks by poverty in the past year are seen as “collateral damage” by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), according to Chris Mould, chair of the Trussell Trust.
The Government has spent years in denial of the existence of food poverty and continues to threaten the charity for speaking out on the issue, he said.
The Trussell Trust is Britain’s biggest provider of food banks, with more than 420 around the country. But despite years of repeated attempts by the charity, Iain Duncan-Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions who has accused the organisation of scaremongering, has never met its representatives, said Mr Mould.
“We’ve asked on many occasions over many years and we’ve always suggested that we’d like to have a conversation with his department about the issues that we see.”
He added: “The only time we’ve had access to the Department for Work and Pensions at any sensible process of dialogue was during the early part of the Coalition government in 2010-2011 when they were consulting on issues relating to the social fund and welfare reform.”
Lives are at stake, said Mr Mould, who ran the Central Police Training and Development Authority and NHS trusts in Wiltshire and Bedfordshire before becoming involved with the charity more than a decade ago.