There was a debate in parliament yesterday on food banks. You might have missed this, because only the Mirror and the Independent reported it. The BBC ignored it completely - I wonder why. The debate was forced by a petition started by blogger Jack Monroe which received 143,000 signatures; but the Tories treated it with contempt. The Mirror's report is fascinating (start at the bottom). IDS didn't speak, leaving it to Esther McVey (who is rapidly proving herself to be the most stupid person ever to become a minister). Both of them left the debate after an hour, a departure noted as "unusual" by Speaker Bercow. Tories apparently smirked throughout, bursting into laughter at stories from Labour MPs of the hardship forcing people to food banks. Labour's Sir Gerald Kaufman described McVey's speech as the nastiest he had heard in his 43 years as an MP, according to the Independent. All that effort put in by Monroe and others achieved nothing, because the Tories are impervious to criticism, and because the public didn't get to hear about it.
The Guardian's website yesterday carried an excellent, though depressing, article on the impact of all the government's austerity measures.
The latest Work Programme figures are out. The headlines are a bit confusing. They say that after 2 years around 22% had achieved a job outcome. But then they say say that 1 in 6 "who had spent sufficient time on the programme to do so" had achieved a job outcome, and that's only 16.7%. Use the tabulation tool to get tables. A4e seems to have performed at about average. We'll have to wait till January to see what effect this has had on A4e's finances.