Survey has revealed more than 2 million adults in the United Kingdom cannot afford food due to the “catastrophic” impact of the cost of living crisis.
Gatekeepers News reports that over two million adults have gone without food for a whole day over the past month because of the nation’s food intake shows a 57% jump in the proportion of households.
According to the Guardian, the latest survey reveals that this has resulted in 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, who described the findings as devastating, said they exposed how families were being left in desperate hardship. Ashworth, however, blamed this on the government, “Boris Johnson is responsible for this crisis and has no solutions to fix it,” he said.
This is coming as one of Britain’s biggest energy suppliers called for the government’s urgent action to help households cope with an anticipated £1,000 rise in bills this winter. Meanwhile, the London fire brigade 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.
In addition, the research by the Food Foundation thinktank found millions more people including 2.6 million children revealed that 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.
Similarly, the rapid deterioration in food security reflects soaring energy, food, and petrol prices coupled with below-inflation benefit rises.
Nevertheless, the predicted 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.
The foundation’s Executive Director, Anna Taylor 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.”
A Public Health Expert at University College London, Prof Sir Michael Marmot 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.”
On Monday the Chief Executive of Scottish Power, Keith Anderson said a fresh support package would be vital before a further dramatic increase in the cost of gas and electricity bills due in October.
Similarly, a government spokesperson said: “We recognise the pressures on the cost of living and we are doing what we can to help, including spending £22bn across the next financial year to support people with energy bills and cut fuel duty.
“For the hardest hit, we’re putting an average of £1,000 more per year into the pockets of working families on universal credit, have also boosted the minimum wage by more than £1,000 a year for full-time workers and our household support fund is there to help with the cost of everyday essentials.”