“DWP minister admits government has no idea how many food banks are in the UK”

“The government have no idea how many food banks have opened in the UK since 2010, a minister has admitted.

Former Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain asked the Department for Work and Pensions how many emergency food centres had opened across the country since the Tories came to power.

It revealed it didn’t collect the information.

In a reply to the written question DWP minister Baroness Peta Buscombe said: “There is no official data or record of the number of food banks in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.”

She then suggested that Lord Hain contact the food bank charity the Trussell Trust for figures.

The Labour Peer told the Mirror: “It is outrageous that Tory Ministers haven’t a clue about the disastrous impact upon local communities of their cuts.

“They don’t seem to care what’s going on in the country.”

This isn’t the first time the government have caught failing to record data around food banks.

Last year the It emerged that Jobcentre staff were being ordered not to count how many desperate people they sent to food banks.

The Trussell Trust handed out 1.3million food parcels in 2017 – up from 61,000 in 2010.

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust said: “Our network of 1,200 food bank centres is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of highlighting the record levels of poverty across the UK.

“Our data is clear that Universal Credit is driving people to food banks.

“That’s why we’re urging the Government to end the five-week wait on Universal Credit to help create a future without food banks.”


Not registered to vote in local election on 2 May? Do it NOW – never was your vote needed more

If you don’t want “more of the same” fusty, mostly male, mostly old Tory councillors and you haven’t registered to vote, please do – it takes less than 5 minutes. And you could change East Devon by voting for Independents!

The deadline is looming for people to register to vote in upcoming town, parish and district council elections.

Residents who are not already registered at their current address have until midnight on Friday, April 12, to be able to vote in the elections taking place in May.

On Thursday, May 2, registered voters will go to the polls to have their say on who will represent them on their town, parish and district councils.

Mark Williams, electoral registration officer for East Devon said: “These elections are an opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say on who represents you on issues that directly affect your day-to-day life.

“If you recently turned 18 or moved home, it is particularly important that you act to ensure that you are registered to vote.

“It takes just five minutes online and means that you can take part in this important election.”

The deadline for applications to vote by post is also approaching at 5pm on Monday, April 15. To request a postal vote ring 01395 571529.


“Pressure” on fat cat pay (including Persimmon)

“The UK’s biggest companies are facing pressure to impose caps on bosses’ pay as part of recommendations to tackle “corporate greed”.

The report by the business, energy and industrial strategy committee of MPs highlighted “huge differentials” in awards at top firms following a string of pay rows, such as those at Unilever and BT.

The most high profile was a backlash against £85m for Jeff Fairburn when he led housebuilder Persimmon – a reward that ultimately led to him being forced out of the door.

MPs argue it is time to break what they regard as a heavy reliance on overgenerous, incentive-based executive pay that is deliberately made complex to shake off shareholder opposition.

The report says failing remuneration committees should face action from the regulator formed to replace the Financial Reporting Council, which has been ridiculed by the committee for its role in the collapse of Carillion.

It said the new Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority must be “more robust and proactive in bearing down on excessive executive pay”.

The MPs recommended pay committees “set, publish and explain” an absolute cap on pay for executives in any financial year.”


Days to local elections – 37: picture and quote of the day

Mark Williams (EDDC CEO),  Paul Diviani (then Leader) and Hugo Swire (current MP) illustrate their cosy relationship.

Diviani quote after success in previous election:

“EDDC Leader Paul Diviani’s pledge when he took office in May 2011:

Turning to his own vision for the future and his style of leadership, Councillor Diviani said: “Some call it safe, clean and green – to which I would add seen.

“Safe comes through good design at the planning stage, through working with the police, fire and rescue and all the other services that deal with our society’s well-being, with particular emphasis on the vulnerable of whatever age.

“Clean is the public realm – paths and pavements on which we travel, the quality of our parks and pleasure grounds, efficient and convenient services, such as waste recycling and collection.

“Green will come as no surprise! Two-thirds of our district is nationally designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which makes East Devon such a fabulous place to live, work and play.

“Seen is about perception and reality and is all about effective communication. All too often we read that EDDC doesn’t listen, doesn’t care, sits in an ivory tower – the list goes on. The cynical view of the last government – decide, consult, do it all anyway – is not my approach.”