A London radio station has received a distressing phonecall from a man who said he is too poor to feed himself properly, the same day a damning report revealed the shocking scale of food waste in the UK.
Mike, 35, from New Cross, London, told LBC’s James O’Brien that after he was made redundant, his marriage quickly broke down, and he now struggles to buy food.
“I live in a tiny room [...] and you have to go to food banks, and sometimes I’m living off a tin of spaghetti a day, or a tin of beans, and there are people out there who really are struggling, and it’s not fun.”
He went on to hit back at the idea that poor people are to blame for their situations, and said that he had always lived according to the rules.
His voice breaking with emotion, he said: “For these people to sit there to say, “Oh, go and get a job” – I’m out there every day, looking and searching, and you know you’re trying to do it on your own, but you can’t, and it gets harder and harder."
“Sometimes I can’t eat, I don’t eat,” he said.
Responding to O’Brien’s suggesting that many people regard the UK benefits system as adequate, he stressed “it’s nowhere near” and said he doesn’t own a TV and described buying batteries for his radio as “an extravagance”.
“Some of us are proud, some of us are proud and trying to get by, but sometimes you have to go to a food bank. You have to, you don’t have any choice,” he said, before he told listeners that he has resorted to searching for food in supermarket bins.
In pictures: Food banks
In pictures: Food banks
1/4 Rising numbers using foodbanks under the Coalition
2/4 Food poverty
Almost a million people have used foodbanks in the last year
3/4 Food poverty scandal
Food bank operators report that people in low-paid work are turning up during their lunch breaks seeking help
Susannah Ireland/The Independent
4/4 The BNP have set up their own foodbanks
Nick Griffin tweeted: “For the avoidance of doubt, our BNP food banks are for indigenous Brits only. 'Minorities' all have their own (taxpayer-funded) charities.”
Concerned listeners quickly took to Twitter to show their sympathy for Mike.
But when O’Brien asked if he could send him some money, Mike refused and said: "Absolutely not. I will not take charity."
"People have no idea. Look, I’m a 35-year-old man, bawling my eyes out on a call-in show, desperate for people to know what it’s like."
His call comes after the ‘Feeding Britain’ cross-party inquiry called for significant changes in handling welfare, and revealed that 4.3 million tonnes of surplus food is being thrown away in Britain every year.