Nearly a third of parents on low incomes miss a meal to feed their children, says report

Nearly a third of parents with incomes less than £25,000 have said they have skipped a meal to ensure their children do not go hungry, according to a new study.

31 per cent of parents surveyed found parents had skipped at least one meal during the summer holidays with a further 62 per cent saying they could not always afford food when their children were no longer entitled to free school meals.

3 per cent of parents surveyed said the family had gone with a meal altogether to save money at least once.

For parents earning less than £15,000 the picture is even bleaker with 41 per cent going without food and nearly three quarters (73 per cent) saying they cannot buy food.

The report, “Isolation and Hunger: the impact of the school holidays on struggling families”, was commissioned by Kelloggs as part of their holiday breakfast club programme and has been presented to all 650 MPs.

read the rest of this article here:

Food bank inquiries soar as further working class families slide into poverty

Millions find it harder to put food on the table as low wages, welfare cuts and high cost of living take their toll

An “alarming” 78% rise in food bank inquiries has taken place over the last six months, as people with jobs start using them to provide emergency supplies until their next pay day.

The figures from Citizens Advice will raise serious concerns that more people are sliding towards the poverty line and are finding it difficult to feed themselves. They reveal significant regional disparities in demand for information about food bank services in England and Wales, suggesting certain parts of the country are suffering considerably more than others.

The charity said the worst affected area was the West Midlands, where there had been a 142% increase in inquiries – 779 in total – since February. The figures show a rise in inquiries about food banks in Citizens Advice bureaux in almost every region of the country.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of the charity said: “Food banks have no place in modern Britain. Millions of families are facing a perfect storm of pressures on their budgets. The combined impact of welfare upheaval, cuts to public spending, low wages and the high cost of living are putting unbearable pressure on many households, forcing them to seek emergency help putting food on the table.”

Guy said that the rise in food bank inquiries in the past six months showed that, despite falling unemployment, millions were still experiencing financial difficulties.

There are concerns that people have ransacked their savings to tide themselves over and are now running out of financial options. A YouGov survey, commissioned by Citizens Advice, revealed that more than half of those on low incomes have raided their savings accounts in the last six months to meet basic living costs.

More than a third – 37% – of respondents on low incomes said they had no savings to turn to in an emergency.

Now, for the first time, the charity has warned that its bureaux are beginning to see people in employment seeking emergency food supplies. Even affluent parts of the country have experienced greater demand for food banks.

B y Jamie Doward and Hussein Kesvani in the Observer, 16th August 2013. Read the full article here:

Bedroom Tax – carers facing debt, eviction and food poverty

Government failing to protect carers and disabled people from ‘spare room’ cuts

Carers are being hard hit by the Government ‘bedroom tax’ cuts to Housing Benefit – despite
Ministers’ promises of support to protect carers and disabled people.

New research by Carers UK, published 100 days after the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’ laysbare the shocking impact of the policy on families caring for disabled loved ones.


From the ‘Carers UK’ website – read the rest of their press release here:

Carers UK interviewed 100 carers affected by the changes, and the findings include:

• Three quarters (75%) of carers having to pay the ‘bedroom tax’ are being forced to cut back
on essential spending on food, electricity and heating.
• One in six (17%) are falling behind on their rent and face eviction.

The welfare changes dubbed the ‘bedroom tax’ mean people in social housing considered to have ‘spare rooms’ are seeing Housing Benefit cut and are being left with an average shortfall of £14 a week – over £700 a year. Families who cannot afford to pay face having to move seriously ill or disabled loved ones.

When the policy was launched in April, ministers pl edged a £25 million discretionary payments fund to help protect carers and disabled people. Carers UK warned the fund was woefully insufficient, and would only be enough to support around 40,000 of the 420,000 disabled people Government figures indicated would be hit by the cuts.

The charity’s new research shows only 1 in 10 carers receiving these discretionary
payments on an ongoing basis. Others were receiving temporary support of just a few
months, facing the extra costs once discretionary relief expires.

With insufficient funds to meet the needs of people affected by the cuts, local councils are, Carers UK says, drawing up their own criteria to ration discretionary payments. Carers turned down for support reported reasons given by local authorities including that spending any more than £3.60 a day per person on food, buying spectacles or postage stamps all counted as unnecessary expenditure and could be cut to cover rent shortfall.

Heléna Herklots Chief Executive of Carers UK said:
“This policy is having a shocking impact on families already struggling to care for seriously ill or disabled loved ones. Carers, whose contribution is often warmly praised by ministers, are being made to feel like they are being punished.
“These are carers who need an extra room just to get few hours of sleep as they care 24/7 for adisabled child, or who are unable to share with a partner because of serious illness.