POLITICS
28/10/2015 11:10 GMT | Updated 28/10/2015 11:59 GMT

Iain Duncan Smith To Station Job Advisors At Food Banks

Richard Stonehouse via Getty Images
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08: Food bank donations at the former home of Emmeline Pankhurst and daughters Sylvia and Christabel and where the Suffragette movement began on October 8, 2015 in Manchester, England. The Pankhurst Centre was home to Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia and is the birthplace of the Suffragette campaign for Votes for Women. The Parlour where the first WSPU (Women's Social and Political Union) meeting was held has been recreated as part of the museum which also hosts a number of women's organisations, projects that support women and a food bank. (Photo by Richard Stonehouse/Getty Images)

The Government wants to station job centre advisors at food banks to help get hard-pressed families work in a significant extension of the role of charities.

Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, told MPs that a pilot project in Manchester is to be rolled out across the country as it is proving successful.

The Conservative minister told the work and pensions select committee of MPs he had received "good feedback".

He added: "If this works and other food banks are willing to encompass it, I would want to roll this out across the country."

Robert Devereux, Permanent Secretary at the DWP, said the pilot scheme was initially focussed on helping people struggling to claim benefits they deserved, but advisors were "spending more time pointing people to vacancies".

The move appears to embed food banks, run by charities, into the welfare state. Critics will also point out many using food banks are already in work, albeit poorly paid.

Mr Duncan Smith questioned Trussell Trust figures that showed a 398% increase in the number of people using their food banks between 2012-14 in Scotland.

While the figures were "genuinely put together" they were "not absolutely clear", he told the committee.

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Iain Duncan Smith speaking to MPs today said jobs advisors are to be placed at food banks

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Ministers have come under fire for the number of hard-pressed families relying on food parcels.

The Trussell Trust, the biggest provider of food banks that provide three days of free food to clients in need, helped people with food 129,000 times in 2011/12 but did so more than a million times in 2014/15.

A report by The Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty today claimed David Cameron has "no means" of alleviating poverty to the point people no longer rely on food banks.

It said it was unclear how the Prime Minister would cut use and added the level of food bank support hid a deeper issue of people not being able to eat well because they are too poor.

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