Over 2 million adults in UK cannot afford to eat every day: Survey
Over 2 million adults in the UK have gone without food for a whole day over the past month because they cannot afford to eat, according to a survey revealing Britain's “catastrophic” impact of the cost of living crisis.
The latest survey of the nation’s food intake shows a 57% jump in the proportion of households cutting back on food or skipping meals over the first three months of this year, with one in seven adults (7.3 million) estimated to be food-insecure, up from 4.7 million in January.
The shadow work and pensions secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, described the findings as devastating, saying they exposed how families were being left in desperate hardship. “Boris Johnson is responsible for this crisis and has no solutions to fix it,” he said.
The survey came as one of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers called for urgent government action to help households cope with an anticipated £1,000 rise in bills this winter.
The London fire brigade, meanwhile, was forced to issue an urgent safety warning against improvising fires at home, after a man set fire to his house by burning timber in his living room to keep warm.
The research by the Food Foundation thinktank found millions more people – including 2.6 million children – report they now have smaller meals than usual, regularly skip meals altogether or do not eat when they are hungry, as food insecurity returns to levels last seen at the start of the first national lockdown.
However, while many reported missing out on meals or eating irregularly during the first months of the pandemic because of food scarcity caused by panic buying and supply problems, the latest increase is put down to rising costs and poverty.
Food banks are reporting that energy costs are so prohibitive for some people they request that charity food parcels that contain no food that has to be cooked using a cooker or that needs to be stored in a fridge or freezer.
The rapid deterioration in food security reflects soaring energy, food and petrol prices coupled with below-inflation benefit rises. The Food Foundation said it was so shocked by its initial findings that it reran the survey on a wider basis, only to get the same results.