Sunday, May 08, 2022

Hungry Brits

 More than 2 million adults in the UK have gone without food for a whole day over the past month because they cannot afford to eat.

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. 

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. 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.

Anna Taylor, the foundation’s executive director, said: “The extremely rapid rise in food insecurity since January points to a catastrophic situation for families. Food insecurity puts families under extreme mental stress and forces people to survive on the cheapest calories, which lead to health problems.”

Prof Sir Michael Marmot, a public health expert at University College London, said: “If one household in seven is food insecure, society is failing in a fundamental way. These figures on food insecurity are all the more chilling because the problem is soluble, but far from being solved it is getting worse.”

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 as they could not afford to put cash in the meter.

 Food insecurity figures were likely to get worse over the next few months as inflation continues to rise and the full impact of April’s national insurance rise hits family budgets along with the lifting of the energy price cap.

Charities are warning that demand for food is rising as budgets get tighter. Ellen-Scarlett Ryan, of Bassetlaw food bank in Worksop, said it supplied 24 households with food parcels on the day after Easter last month, way ahead of its previous record of 16.

Many of these clients had never before used food banks and were struggling with their newfound reliance on charity to feed their families, Ryan said. “We are finding people in floods of tears. They are so scared, they are at their wits’ end. It is such a difficult and emotional time.”

Households were making the food go further, she said, putting smaller portions on the table and bulking out dishes with lentils and rice.

More than 2m adults in UK cannot afford to eat every day, survey finds | Food poverty | The Guardian

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