Millions of Britons are forced to eat less, or have to skip meals, a study published on Monday said, a situation that has worsened sharply since the start of the year as the cost of living has risen.
More than 7 million adults lived in April in a household that ran out of food (nearly 14% of the total), according to a study published by the Food Foundation, a number that is up 57% since January.
About 2.6 million children live in these homes. And 2.4 million adults didn’t eat for at least a full day during April, according to this study with YouGov.
The foundation calls on “the government to take urgent measures to prevent a further escalation of this crisis”, especially “by increasing allocations to the extent of inflation” or even “expanding access to free school meals.”
In addition, food bank beneficiaries are “increasingly asking for food that doesn’t need to be cooked” because “families can’t afford the energy bills,” the organization adds, warning that food insecurity will increase even more in the coming months.
Faced with inflation, which could exceed 10% this year in the UK, driven in particular by energy and food prices, criticism is mounting against Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, who is accused of not helping hard enough families.
Keith Anderson, head of Scottish Power, one of the UK’s largest electricity distributors, also called on the government on Monday to act when “up to 40% of households could face energy poverty next winter, according to a statement sent to AFP.”
Anderson said the CEO should support a £1,000-a-year (more than €1,160) reduction in energy bills for the poor, an expense that could be “recoverable over 10 years”.
For its part, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) called on the government to pass an emergency budget to help companies cope with higher costs, including by reversing tax increases that took effect in April. Or by reducing value-added tax on energy bills.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak argued in a statement released later on Monday that the government had already announced aid for small and medium-sized businesses, including tax cuts targeting small businesses or certain struggling sectors such as retail, hospitality or hobbies.
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