There has been a tremendous outpouring of generosity over the period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the beginning, there were the mutual aid groups set up to help those becalmed at home, unable to obtain things like prescriptions and shopping.

Then there was the tin in a bin initiative to support foodbanks. The amount given over this period has been overwhelming. There have been charitable acts right across the community.

The homeless have been taken off the streets and put into accommodation.

Moving forward, we must ensure this generosity of spirit in the community continues to be harnessed for the goodness of all.

However, what must not happen is for charity to replace the basic rights of people to justice.

So in a country of 150 plus billionaires, why do a million plus go to foodbanks (and this was before the pandemic)?

Why, when there are thousands of empty houses, do people struggle to survive on the street and elsewhere?

Why do levels of child poverty continue to grow in the fifth richest economy in the world?

These are fundamental questions, that reveal a badly run society with skewed values.

Some years ago, David Cameron's coalition government promoted the idea of a Big Society. Central to the idea seemed to be people volunteering to do work that had previously been done by paid workers. The idea was dressed up as something else, aimed at the common good but in reality it wasn't.

The Big Society sought to use people's charitable instincts as a vehicle to cut services. The idea of the deserving and undeserving poor began to develop. This can never be allowed to happen because in the end it leads to the workhouse of the 19th century.

It is great that people support foodbanks but in such a rich country it is a disgrace that the whole structure is required at all. Better a fully-funded welfare state, where people have support as of right, not on the basis of someone else's charitable instinct to give.

So, yes, let's celebrate the incredible acts of generosity, but don't let those acts obscure the fact that we live in a grotesquely unequal society, entirely of our own making - and that needs to change in the post pandemic world.