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Cost of living crisis: 1 in 7 Brits are skipping meals, TUC findings show

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
tin of food in bare fridge

Approximately 14% of people in the UK are skipping meals or going without food completely to save money, a new poll released by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) reveals.

The survey of 10,000 people, carried out by market research agency Opinium on behalf of TUC shows how the cost of living crisis is impacting budgets across the country.

In 47 parliamentary constituencies, the number of people going without food to make ends meet was even higher, at 20% or more.

In Birmingham Ladywood, for example, nearly 30% of residents reported skipping meals or otherwise missing out on food. This was followed by 27% in Dundee West, and 24% in both the Welsh constituency of Rhondda and Glasgow.

More than a fifth of locals in the City of London and Westminster said they had missed out on meals to save money.

The poll found that the proportion of people skipping meals in the UK was the same regardless of whether people were employed or not.

The TUC poll also revealed that more than two fifths of Britons were having to cut back on food spending generally, with some areas of the UK hit harder than others.

In Bootle, Birmingham Ladywood and Liverpool Walton, six in 10 people were reducing the amount they spend on food. In comparison, three in 10 residents were doing this in wealthier areas like Richmond Park, Chelsea and Fulham in London.

Nearly half of Welsh respondents said they have cut back on food spending, with the number reaching more than 50% in 11 constituencies.

The poll results come as inflation in the country reaches above 10% for the second time this year, with the annual rise in food prices now standing at nearly 15%.

The findings are a “stark reminder” of the pressures facing UK households during the cost of living crisis, the TUC says.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady warned that without sufficient pay rising across the country, the UK will reach “Victorian levels of poverty.”

The union body has recommended the Government sticks to plans to uprate universal credit, benefits, and pensions, to be in line with inflation rates, and that the uprating is brought forward before April 2023.

Other recommendations include introducing a higher windfall tax on gas and oil companies, giving key workers in the public sector cost of living pay rise increases, and raising the minimum wage to £15 an hour as soon as possible.

O’Grady added: “Instead of giving bungs to bankers, ministers need to get money into people’s pockets. That’s the best way to boost spending in local economies and to deliver lasting growth.”

Find out how young people in the UK are campaigning to make food affordable and accessible for all children in this latest Food Matters Live Podcast episode:

Food poverty – the teenagers fighting to be heard


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