Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Speech in Strasbourg: food banks and the European Social fund

Once the video of the speech becomes available, I will upload this to my Youtube account

The European Social Fund's remit is to invest in people. To support employment, especially amongst the young, who see their futures receding in a Europe of austerity and unemployment.


Now I note that the EU's food aid programme, the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, is also to receive its funding through the ESF.


In my constituency, the West Midlands, my office has collected 3 tons of food for distribution to food banks. Across the country, more than 350,000 people are dependent on these food banks to feed themselves and their families. It has been estimated that if current trends continue, more than half a million people could be receiving food parcels by 2016. These are basic supplies, not luxury foods and wines such as those that will be enjoyed in the member's dining room today.


A recent study found that malnutrition is on the rise in the UK. One in ten older people are malnourished. This fact is a warning sign, as this is where the problem first becomes apparent.


The Archbishop of Canterbury, just 3 days ago, issued a plea for more financial support for the rapidly expanding network of food banks.


We sit here debating new legislation on this and that whilst people are suffering in the member states.


There is joke that is popular in England at the moment. President Barosso is asked by a Greek citizen, "Have we achieved full European integration yet?" The answer from the president is, "Oh no, it will get a lot worse yet!":