UK poverty: Parents going hungry to feed their children

UK poverty: Parents going hungry to feed their children
The Information Daily
05.07.13

Many parents in the UK are struggling to feed their children, a new survey has found.

The survey, a joint work from Tesco, the Trussell Trust and FareShare, comes as the three groups prepare to host the biggest ever food drive in the UK, taking place across every Tesco store in the country.

The aim of the food drive is to collect nutritious food to stock food banks and food charities supported by the Trussell Trust and FareShare, which so many families today rely on.

Statistics show that 70 per cent of families suffering from food poverty rely on schools to feed their children – they claim free school meals, breakfast hand-outs and food supplied at after school clubs.

More than a quarter of these parents expressed that they would not be able to provide all the food their children need during the school holidays.

Food prices have risen and benefits have been cut, leaving a large amount of families also relying on food banks and other emergency services.

The research found that over 20 per cent of parents have either relied on friends or relatives to put food on the table or gone without food in order to feed their children. Some had skipped meals for days, but many were unable to provide for their children even with going hungry.

The survey comprised of 2,000 adults across the UK.

Those living in food poverty mostly remarked that they did not see their situation improving within the next 12 months, with only a third of people answering positively.

Food banks are an emergency measure for the poorest of society. They are supplied with food and staffed by volunteers, and aim to provide nutritionally balanced, non-perishable foods (such as dried pasta, tinned fruit etc.) to families in need.

This last emergency measure has become the only option for a large number of individuals and families across the UK.

FareShare supports roughly 900 charities across the UK by providing food, and comment that not only do the poorest need free food, but also help and support. Margaret Lynch, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland said: “In just the last three months, Scottish CAB advisers saw nearly 300 people whose situation was so bad that they had to be referred to a food bank or other form of emergency support. That means they literally could not afford to feed themselves that day, never mind pay the rent or heating bills. It is no longer unusual for a CAB to deal with such a case”.

“It’s very important to understand the recession is not the only reason for this. The UK government’s welfare reforms have also had a devastating impact on many people throughout Scotland, and those who have suffered most are those who were on the lowest incomes to begin with. These include sick and disabled people as well as families with young children”.

“Such people were hit hard by the recession, and many of them have then seen their benefits cut as well. Figures like those published today are the inevitable result”.