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7 Feb, 2022 17:35

Stark new figures reveal numbers suffering food poverty in UK

The cost-of-living crisis has pushed thousands of people into a “heat or eat” dilemma
Stark new figures reveal numbers suffering food poverty in UK

One million adults across the UK went an entire day without eating over the past month because they were unable to put food on the table, according to research from charity Food Foundation, published on Monday. 

The foundation’s report claims that soaring energy prices, along with an increase in the cost of groceries, has exacerbated the cost-of-living crisis and the impact of a universal credit reduction. In October, a £20 ($27) Covid top-up to universal credit was removed.

Food Foundation found that more than one in five households are facing a “heat or eat” dilemma, with family funds squeezed by the soaring cost of heating over the winter months. 

Gas and electricity bills are due to increase by £700 (almost $950) a year from April, pushing some five million households into fuel poverty despite government interventions to soften the blow. Grocery bills were up 3.8% in January, potentially adding an extra £180 (over $240) to the yearly food shop for an average household.

“There is little doubt that the cost-of-living crisis is putting very real pressure on the ability of many to afford a healthy diet and is set to widen health inequalities,” the foundation said.

The charity’s findings were based on the responses of 4,200 people, of whom 8.8% admitted to some kind of food poverty – defined as skipping meals, going hungry or not eating for a whole day – up from 7.7% in July.

The state has tightened access to welfare benefits in an effort to entice more people to accept jobs. There is currently a record number of job vacancies, causing upward pressure on wages.