He used to crew a Nimrod in the RAF. Now his most challenging mission is to feed himself on £58.92 a week.

He’s on disability benefits, but there are deductions: one for rent arrears, another to pay back a crisis loan. So he’s become one of the 913,000 people a year who used food banks run by the Trussell Trust last year.

“I’m Keith, and I’m depressed,” he begins – half jokily because it’s the delay in the DWP deciding whether he is depressed enough to get his full benefits that he thinks has caused the problem. “I used to be twelve stone,” he says, gesturing to a body that is now rake-thin.

He walked in to the Watford food bank yesterday, says the centre’s manager. They’ve given him an emergency food parcel but the more strategic problem is, he hasn’t got a cooker. Or any gas to cook with.

He takes me to his flat: bare floors, minimal furniture and nothing in the kitchen except a kettle and a sandwich toaster swimming in fat. The toaster is what he uses to cook bacon and eggs: he’s sold his freezer, cooker and washing machine already and last week pawned his mobile phone.

So tonight he’ll be eating from a “hot can” – sausage and beans, which ingeniously heat themselves once you puncture the tin. He survives on this, his medication and rollups.

The Watford food bank, which is run by the Trussell Trust, says more than half of all the people who’ve come there for food in the past year are there either because benefit delays or benefit sanctions.

Of the 1,649 people they’ve had to feed because of benefit troubles, more than six hundred were children, who are being denied money to live on because of alleged mistakes and irregularities by their parents.

Chris Mould, who set up the charity nationally, says: “Half the people who come here are for benefit problems, and 80 per cent of our centres report these involve sanctions” – that is deductions for not conforming to the set regime, or for arrears or debts.

Today the rolling news media have been revelling in the fact that earnings have – after five years of falling – risen in real terms by 0.1 per cent, over a year. To hear the tone of some of the coverage we should be declaring a national holiday.He’s on disability benefits, but there are deductions: one for rent arrears, another to pay back a crisis loan. So he’s become one of the 913,000 people a year who used food banks run by the Trussell Trust last year.

“I’m Keith, and I’m depressed,” he begins – half jokily because it’s the delay in the DWP deciding whether he is depressed enough to get his full benefits that he thinks has caused the problem. “I used to be twelve stone,” he says, gesturing to a body that is now rake-thin.

He walked in to the Watford food bank yesterday, says the centre’s manager. They’ve given him an emergency food parcel but the more strategic problem is, he hasn’t got a cooker. Or any gas to cook with.

He takes me to his flat: bare floors, minimal furniture and nothing in the kitchen except a kettle and a sandwich toaster swimming in fat. The toaster is what he uses to cook bacon and eggs: he’s sold his freezer, cooker and washing machine already and last week pawned his mobile phone.

So tonight he’ll be eating from a “hot can” – sausage and beans, which ingeniously heat themselves once you puncture the tin. He survives on this, his medication and rollups.

The Watford food bank, which is run by the Trussell Trust, says more than half of all the people who’ve come there for food in the past year are there either because benefit delays or benefit sanctions.

Of the 1,649 people they’ve had to feed because of benefit troubles, more than six hundred were children, who are being denied money to live on because of alleged mistakes and irregularities by their parents.

Chris Mould, who set up the charity nationally, says: “Half the people who come here are for benefit problems, and 80 per cent of our centres report these involve sanctions” – that is deductions for not conforming to the set regime, or for arrears or debts.

Today the rolling news media have been revelling in the fact that earnings have – after five years of falling – risen in real terms by 0.1 per cent, over a year. To hear the tone of some of the coverage we should be declaring a national holiday.

– See more at: http://blogs.channel4.com/paul-mason-blog/gas-cooker-benefits-delayed-life-food-bank-user/691#sthash.Gr3CxFVy.dpuf

He’s on disability benefits, but there are deductions: one for rent arrears, another to pay back a crisis loan. So he’s become one of the 913,000 people a year who used food banks run by the Trussell Trust last year.

“I’m Keith, and I’m depressed,” he begins – half jokily because it’s the delay in the DWP deciding whether he is depressed enough to get his full benefits that he thinks has caused the problem. “I used to be twelve stone,” he says, gesturing to a body that is now rake-thin.

He walked in to the Watford food bank yesterday, says the centre’s manager. They’ve given him an emergency food parcel but the more strategic problem is, he hasn’t got a cooker. Or any gas to cook with.

He takes me to his flat: bare floors, minimal furniture and nothing in the kitchen except a kettle and a sandwich toaster swimming in fat. The toaster is what he uses to cook bacon and eggs: he’s sold his freezer, cooker and washing machine already and last week pawned his mobile phone.

So tonight he’ll be eating from a “hot can” – sausage and beans, which ingeniously heat themselves once you puncture the tin. He survives on this, his medication and rollups.

The Watford food bank, which is run by the Trussell Trust, says more than half of all the people who’ve come there for food in the past year are there either because benefit delays or benefit sanctions.

Of the 1,649 people they’ve had to feed because of benefit troubles, more than six hundred were children, who are being denied money to live on because of alleged mistakes and irregularities by their parents.

Chris Mould, who set up the charity nationally, says: “Half the people who come here are for benefit problems, and 80 per cent of our centres report these involve sanctions” – that is deductions for not conforming to the set regime, or for arrears or debts.

Today the rolling news media have been revelling in the fact that earnings have – after five years of falling – risen in real terms by 0.1 per cent, over a year. To hear the tone of some of the coverage we should be declaring a national holiday.

– See more at: http://blogs.channel4.com/paul-mason-blog/gas-cooker-benefits-delayed-life-food-bank-user/691#sthash.Gr3CxFVy.dpuf

He’s on disability benefits, but there are deductions: one for rent arrears, another to pay back a crisis loan. So he’s become one of the 913,000 people a year who used food banks run by the Trussell Trust last year.

“I’m Keith, and I’m depressed,” he begins – half jokily because it’s the delay in the DWP deciding whether he is depressed enough to get his full benefits that he thinks has caused the problem. “I used to be twelve stone,” he says, gesturing to a body that is now rake-thin.

He walked in to the Watford food bank yesterday, says the centre’s manager. They’ve given him an emergency food parcel but the more strategic problem is, he hasn’t got a cooker. Or any gas to cook with.

He takes me to his flat: bare floors, minimal furniture and nothing in the kitchen except a kettle and a sandwich toaster swimming in fat. The toaster is what he uses to cook bacon and eggs: he’s sold his freezer, cooker and washing machine already and last week pawned his mobile phone.

So tonight he’ll be eating from a “hot can” – sausage and beans, which ingeniously heat themselves once you puncture the tin. He survives on this, his medication and rollups.

The Watford food bank, which is run by the Trussell Trust, says more than half of all the people who’ve come there for food in the past year are there either because benefit delays or benefit sanctions.

Of the 1,649 people they’ve had to feed because of benefit troubles, more than six hundred were children, who are being denied money to live on because of alleged mistakes and irregularities by their parents.

Chris Mould, who set up the charity nationally, says: “Half the people who come here are for benefit problems, and 80 per cent of our centres report these involve sanctions” – that is deductions for not conforming to the set regime, or for arrears or debts.

Today the rolling news media have been revelling in the fact that earnings have – after five years of falling – risen in real terms by 0.1 per cent, over a year. To hear the tone of some of the coverage we should be declaring a national holiday.

– See more at: http://blogs.channel4.com/paul-mason-blog/gas-cooker-benefits-delayed-life-food-bank-user/691#sthash.Gr3CxFVy.dpuf

 

See more at: http://blogs.channel4.com/paul-mason-blog/gas-cooker-benefits-delayed-life-food-bank-user/691