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Britons Facing Real Food Poverty

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Over 2 million adults in the United Kingdom have gone without food for an entire day over the past month because they could not afford food according to a report from Think Tank the food foundation. The report found that one in seven adults approximately 7.3 million Britons, now fall under the insecure brackets up by almost 3 million from January. It further reported a 57% jump in the proportion of households that were cutting back on food expenditures or skipping meals altogether.

The shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Ashworth described the findings as devastating and explained that it exposed how families were being left in desperate hardship. He went on to say that Boris Johnson was responsible for this crisis and that he hadn’t heard any solutions to fix it as of yet from the Johnson government. Approximately 2.6 million children are reporting that they are now eating smaller meals than usual, regularly skipping meals altogether, or do not eat when they are hungry.

Food banks have begun to report energy costs have soared to prohibitive heights, so much so, that some people in households are turning down fresh vegetables that would need to be cooked because they cannot afford to turn on the gas. The rise in food insecurity is a natural consequence due to the soaring inflation of energy, food, and gasoline prices hitting record levels. There have been multiple warnings that it will worsen in the coming months.

The Food Foundation said it was shocked by his initial findings and that it resent the survey on a wider scale with the same results. Ann Taylor, the director, 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.”

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One single mother, Caroline, who lives and works in a rural County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, said she only had convenience food stores nearby and had to travel miles to get to the main supermarkets. She further went on to state that she’s always worked and that she was having a difficult time juggling higher household bills, the need for new clothing for her child, and the need to access a food bank for support. She stated that she had gone without food while her daughter did on many occasions. She said that she has tried many money saving measures such as putting the central heating on only occasionally and using coal fires to keep her and her child warm.

Tesco’s chairman John Allan said that many in the country were struggling with increasing costs of food and fuel due to the inflation. “I was in some [Tesco] stores on Friday and I was hearing for the first time for many years of customers saying to checkout staff ‘Stop when you get to £40, I don’t want to spend a penny over that’,” Allan said. “I think that many of them are struggling to both be able to heat their homes and to feed their families,” he continued. “And I think we’re seeing, you know, real food poverty for the first time in a generation.”

The Tesco boss hoped that the government would step in to reduce the strain on the population struggling to make ends meet and suggested that the government could reverse course on a planned payroll tax hike in order to give some breathing room to working Britons. He further called for reforming rates of relief saying that many shops faced going out of business as customers cut back on spending.

Meanwhile the Bank of England has issued a dire warning stating that Britons might suffer historic shock to their incomes as it is expecting record high inflation to continue soaring upwards. England’s central bank said that it was expecting the cost-of-living crisis to plunge the nation’s economy into recession this year.