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.
Much has been reported in recent months about providing food to families who are struggling to make ends meet, but unfortunately there is a much broader and deeper side to this story: a desperate need for everyday essentials, items that are getting left off the weekly shop long before people turn to food hand-outs.
The debate about foodbanks exposes the dark secret at the heart of this government: they just don't care. Asked about the growth of foodbanks, David Cameron always gives the same reply: that demand for foodbanks went up tenfold under Labour. He is implying that things are no worse now than before the election. The facts, however, tell a different story. One of the reasons the extraordinary Trussell Trust has proved so irksome to government is that it keeps meticulous statistics. And it refuses to suppress them.
So let's stop living in a theoretical world where Big Society is what happens when a subsection of those with surplus try to help those in need but don't have enough to meet all the need, and let's start living in the real world where the body best placed to be Big Society and to make Big Society work is you.
What struck me about this exchange was the extent to which it revealed a widening disconnect between the haves and have nots, on the level of morals as well as income, exacerbated by the recession and the current government's policy of making the poor pay for an economic mess effectively created by the greed of the rich.
None of this was necessary. None of it was inevitable. Much of it is a direct consequence of policies introduced by one of the most ruthless and callous governments this country has ever seen. And for that same government to turn around and celebrate the charities forced to pick up the pieces is not only paradoxical - it's an act of gross hypocrisy.
I talked to a constituent who had a stroke and is on benefit. After paying all his bills, he's left with just £12 a week - less than £2 a day - to spend on food. In the new year, thanks to the government's so called welfare "reforms", his housing benefit will be reduced - by £12 a week. He will have nothing at all left to pay for food.
Last week Vickie and Mathew, a working couple, were helped by the foodbank. Their finances were stretched to breaking point after they had been made redundant from well-paid jobs and were forced to take low-paid ones instead. They've sold everything that they can and Vickie had gone without food for four days before she was referred to the foodbank by a children's centre. She told us that they can't afford any Christmas presents for their two young children, so she's been hiding some of their toys to give them something to unwrap on Christmas day.