Bombshell government report admits families have a choice between heating and eating


Those in difficulty face a cost-of-living crisis as a study by the Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs admitted people may have struggled to afford to eat over the past four years.

Underprivileged families struggle to afford to eat, official study finds

Falling incomes for the poorest families may have left millions of people with less money to spend on food, an explosive government report admitted.

The poorest households may have struggled to feed themselves over the past four years, according to a massive study by the Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The devastating analysis comes in a 322-page food safety report discreetly slipped out by Whitehall in the run-up to Christmas.

The numbers only cover until the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which has triggered a further surge in demand for food banks and emergency aid.

He reveals that with the falling budgets of struggling families – and while the portion of household funds needed for food has remained the same – there may have been less money to prepare meals.

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Desperate families struggle to afford food, government admitted (stock photo)



“Low-income households saw their income fall by 1.1% between FY 2017 and FY 2020 unlike the average household whose income has increased by 4.9% since FY 2017”, indicates the study.

“With a decrease in income and the percentage spent on food having remained the same, the poorest households may have had a reduced budget available for food since fiscal 2017.”

The findings help explain the explosion in demand for food banks under the Conservatives – and come as fears grow of a growing cost-of-living crisis fueled by soaring energy bills.

Experts fear that rising costs will force families to choose between “heating themselves and eating” during the winter, which the report concedes.

“The capacity of households to feed themselves is linked to overall pressures on the household budget” and “other essential household budget expenses include housing, fuel and electricity, household goods and services and transport”, indicates the study.

“Some of these expenses such as electricity and gas bills are considered non-discretionary, which means that it is difficult for a household to reduce its expenses.

“Price increases in these categories can therefore reduce the available food budget. “

Food bank use has skyrocketed under the Conservatives


Getty Images)

The report warns: “For some households, it could also mean that people could depend on food aid or miss meals if they cannot afford enough food.

Feeding Britain Country Director Andrew Forsey said: “These are some of the most important underlying reasons for the alarming growth in the number of people seeking help from food banks.

“The ability of too many of Britain’s poorest households to afford basic necessities has reached a breaking point over the past five years.

“It is in this context that sudden and unexpected bills, job losses or benefit issues have left people hungry and unable to feed themselves. “

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Heating bills are skyrocketing, prices in stores are rising, wages are stagnating and more punitive tax hikes are underway – all while the government’s own statistics show how badly families have been. struggling to put food on the table.

The report also indicates that the average household income fell for the poorest fifth of families from 2017, despite a larger increase.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth visiting a food bank


Daily Mirror / Andy Stenning)

“Between fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2020, the median disposable income of households in the bottom quintile decreased by 11.1% while for all individuals, it increased by 0.3%”, indicates t -he.

“The poorest 20% of households, whose incomes have fallen since 2017, devote a larger share of their income to food and are therefore more affected by changes in food prices.

The report confirms widely held claims that a decade of conservative rule from 2010 also weighed on the incomes of the poorest families, while the richest got richer.

“In the 10 years between FY2010 and FY2020, the median disposable income of households in the bottom quintile decreased by 2.7%, and in the top quintile, it increased by 2.9% », He indicates.

“The average disposable income for all individuals in the UK over the same 10 year period has increased by 6.9%.”

The 2021 Food Security Report is the first in a series of studies to be released as part of a commitment made in the 2020 Farm Law.

It requires ministers to report to Parliament on food security in the UK at least once every three years.

Kath Dalmeny, Managing Director of the Food and Agriculture Alliance Sustain, said “Very low food security” (2.7 million people).

“These numbers are for the pre-Covid period, and we know the situation has worsened for millions more during the pandemic, slipping through the safety net that aims to protect our basic human right to food. “

She urged leaders to “carefully review these household food security figures and systematically embrace the solutions.”

Experts believe rising fuel prices and bills will send more hungry people to food banks


Getty Images)

She added: “A living wage, adequate social security, control of household expenses, free school meals, school vacation programs, home meal services, support for affordable community food programs and cooperatives would be helpful. a great start to tackling widespread hunger and malnutrition across the UK.

Britain’s largest network of food banks, the Trussell Trust, distributed 935,749 emergency packages in the six months leading up to the end of September. This was equivalent to 5,141 packages per day.

Policy Director Garry Lemon said: “These numbers are a grim warning sign for the months to come.

“The looming cost-of-living crisis and the £ 20 cut in universal credit mean that families with the lowest incomes will continue to be hardest hit through the winter months and beyond.

“Everyone in the UK should be able to afford most of their life – but the food banks in our network continue to see more and more people facing impossible decisions like putting food on the table or heating up their house ; This is not correct. “

He added: “We need government at all levels to take urgent action, so that our social security system keeps pace with the cost of living and prevents people from using food banks.”

A government spokesperson said: ‘We are providing significant support to those on the lowest incomes, including putting an average of £ 1,000 more per year into the pockets of working families through universal credit, increasing the minimum wage of 6.6% and helping with the cost of fuel bills.

“Our £ 500million household support fund is also helping the most vulnerable with essential costs this winter, and councils have received an additional £ 65million to support low-income households with rent arrears.”

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