A NEW foodbank and soup kitchen is to open in Bournemouth – thanks to Claire Matthews and her 16-year-old daughter Jessica.

Even as we salute their dedication, we should ask why such charity is necessary in the 21st century.

Claire tells of friends who were choosing between feeding their families and turning on the heating – comments borne out by the experience of existing foodbanks.

It may be that politicians missed some big changes going on in Britain in recent years. Even in the boom times, rising property prices, rocketing fuel bills and suppressed wages meant a lot of people were living closer to the edge of poverty than many imagined. Even those whose incomes looked comfortable on paper often relied on tax credits to make ends meet.

Now, a lot of hard-working people are in a tighter spot than they ever thought possible. Society needs to help – and to resolve never to let it happen again.