Millions of Britons are being forced to eat less or skip meals, a situation that has worsened sharply since the start of the year as the cost of living has soared, according to a study published on Monday.
According to a study published by the Food Foundation, in April more than 7 million adults lived in households that ran out of food (nearly 14% of the total), a number that has increased by 57% since the month of January.
About 2.6 million children live in these homes. And according to this study, conducted with the YouGov Institute, 2.4 million adults went without eating for at least a full day in April.
The foundation “calls on the government to take urgent action to prevent this crisis from escalating further,” particularly “by increasing allowances as sharply as inflation” or even “expanding access to free school meals.”
Additionally, food bank recipients are “increasingly asking for non-cooked food” because “families can’t afford energy bills,” the organization adds, warning that food insecurity will continue to rise in the coming months.
With inflation set to top 10% in the UK this year, fueled in particular by energy and food prices, finance minister Rishi Sunak has been criticized for not providing enough help to struggling families.
Also Keith Anderson, chief executive of Scottish Power, one of the UK’s largest electricity suppliers, on Monday urged the government to act if “up to 40% of households could face energy poverty next winter,” according to a sent document Statement on AFP.
The Executive, Mr Anderson said, should pay for a £1,000 a year (more than €1,160) reduction in energy bills for the most deprived, an expense which “could be recouped over a 10-year period”.
For their part, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have urged the government to adopt an emergency budget to help businesses deal with rising costs, including rolling back tax increases that came into effect in April or cutting VAT on energy bills.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, in a statement later on Monday, argued that the government had already announced support for SMEs, including tax cuts for smaller businesses or certain ailing sectors such as retail, hospitality or hobbies.