This is the happiness paradox in action: after basic needs have been met, increased wealth has not produced greater happiness in rich countries, the gains made in life expectancy and income cancelled out by the personal and social stresses of a competitive, materialistic society.
This year's Budget has to create some movement in a positive direction for the many millions of people for whom the past six years have been cumulatively, increasingly difficult. Many people attending foodbanks have jobs. Too often those jobs are insecure, with uncertain hours. Poor people need better base pay, more employment security, more full time rather than part time work.
Many struggle to be patient with their children when they skip meals so they can feed them first. Some care for relatives in demanding physical ways in spite of lack of food. Others go to work each day on an empty stomach, earning their way but still with inadequate resource to pay for food, rent and heating. It is a national scandal.
When religious leaders across the spectrum line up to say your policies have created a "national crisis" of hunger and poverty, when your government is forced to push out a long-delayed report that comprehensively debunks your already obviously weak explanation for the explosive growth of food banks, it really isn't a great idea to claim that your policies were driven by a "moral mission".
The church of England has been around since the end of the sixth century, while parliament has only been around in its present form since 1801. The church is far older, it has far more supporters, and if the government thinks that by ignoring it, it will just shut up and go away, then they are in for a very big surprise.
You might not have heard of 'kettle boxes' before. They sound innocuous enough; maybe, with the right kind of marketing, even a bit fashionable. Whole meals you can prepare with nothing more than a handy electric kettle. This is Britain today. Staff at the Trussell Trust, which coordinates a network of food banks, have come up with the idea of kettle boxes and cold boxes because they're seeing people who cannot afford to heat their food, or simply don't have what's required to do so. Morecambe Bay food bank is giving out a couple of each of these every week to its clients.
As anyone who has seen Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol will know, the moral of the tale is that Ebenezer Scrooge is so besotted by wealth that he has, until visited by the 'ghosts' of Christmas, no sympathy for those unable to fend for themselves... Perhaps we should hope that something similar happens to Iain Duncan Smith
On the busiest Christmas shopping day of the year staff at Action for Children are working to support the poorest families across the UK stay warm and fed. This is a sad reflection of the worsening effects of the tough economic times we are in; in previous years we handed out presents during the festive season.
I don't wish to preach, but I feel that we should focus less of our attention to giving gifts to our family and friends who, if we're honest, probably have enough money to buy the nice things we're getting them. We should take note of the giving side of Christmas, and if we give gifts surely they should be to those who really can't afford it.
This Christmas more people than ever will be relying on food banks in the UK. Despite the government's talk of a recovery, thousands of people across the country are going into the Christmas period with the grinding desperation of poverty and hunger hanging over them.
Here's a cracking social enterprise model - big name retailers need to get rid of old stock at minimal cost - so they give it to a "social" supermarket who only sells to those living locally, on welfare and at significant discount.
Love or hate Boris Johnson he tends to get things wrong as we all do because we are human and it's only natural but this time in my true and humble opinion BOJO has gone too far and overstepped the mark on all counts.
You know you're POOR when you have to queue at the local food bank because you just can't see where your next meal is coming from. You know you're poor when that package of food is what will sustain your family for the next few days.
It's no secret that regulatory loopholes and offshore havens allow corporations and wealthy individuals the legal means to avoid paying vast sums in tax. This has been going on for years, and seems a somewhat more fitting example of a people living 'on the take'.
Food banks are a hot topic at the moment- with an extra resonance because it's Harvest Festival this weekend. The idea that in the midst of plenty, many of our fellow citizens are relying on food hand outs, is an uncomfortable fact for many of us.
George Osborne's latest announcement is that "austerity works" as though we are all just living in a snapshot of a nostalgic poster of post-war Britain. You sit at home in your coat. Drag yourself to the cooker to pour some tinned tomatoes over some cold pasta, and try not to hurl it across the room in frustration when your toddler tells you he doesn't want it. But there isn't anything else. But aren't we supposed to just keep calm and carry on? There's nothing cosy and nostalgic about missing days of meals, turning the heating off for two consecutive winters and every bloody day and night in between.