• “A government that cared about poverty would exert itself to find out why people go to food banks,” I said in my article about Iain Duncan Smith and welfare reform in The Independent on Tuesday.
Issy Flamel rightly pointed out that the Government did commission research into food banks in 2013. The study suggested that lower incomes and debt problems were causes of the increase in the use of food banks, but that further work was needed. And it failed to consider whether Jobcentre referrals or simply the provision of more food banks were factors.
Meanwhile the Government defends benefit sanctions and claims that benefit payment delays are improving, often cited as two other causes of increased use of food banks.
If anyone knows of other research, particularly into problem debts and the relation between food-bank use and national statistics showing fewer children in poverty, I’d like to know about it.
• Quarterly immigration figures are to be published today. Nick Timothy, former special adviser to Theresa May, the Home Secretary, says: While existing rules for EU and student migration remain, net migration cannot be cut to the tens of thousands.”
It is worth noting, again, that the figures are likely to show that immigration from outside the EU – which is the part that the Government can control – continues to be higher than immigration from other EU countries. Students are the largest category of non-EU immigration (followed by people coming for work and for family reunion), which is why Timothy mentions them.
• And finally, thanks to Diversion for this:
“People accuse me of being a luggage denier.
“That’s definitely not the case.”