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Over 8 million in UK struggling to buy food: Survey

7 May 2016 7:21



More than 8 million in the UK cannot afford to eat enough food, with over half regularly passing a day without having any meal, according to estimates of hunger in the UK.

One in 10 British adults faced moderate level of food insufficiency in 2014, placing Britain in the bottom half of European countries on hunger measures, below Hungary, Estonia, Slovakia and Malta.

Nearly 17 times the number of those who use Trussell Trust food banks felt insecure about having enough to consume, a fact showing hunger in the UK is a great deal more widespread than rising charity food use suggests, according to the analysis of UN data by the Food Foundation thinktank.

Experiencing hunger, being unable to secure enough food of sufficient quality and quantity for a healthy body, participating in society, and cutting down on food due to financial hardships, are defined as characteristics of food insecurity.

“This survey is a wake-up call reminding us that too many people are sometimes too poor to eat in the UK,” said the Food Foundation’s executive director, Anna Taylor.

“This is a major contribution to the debate on hunger in our country. We now know for the first time the scale of the challenge confronting the nation to ensure all of us can afford to buy and eat a decent meal without needing to rely on food banks,” Frank Field MP, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on hunger, said.

According to the foundation, 4.7 million people aged over 15 were severely food-insecure and 3.7 million were classified as moderately food-insecure.

“Tackling the fundamental problems of our food system will be difficult but is essential for a healthier and more secure future for all UK families,” said the former Conservative MP Laura Sandys, who both set up and chairs the foundation.

Another study conducted by YouGov in January showed a deepening hunger crisis at schools across the UK, with many teachers feeding hungry students in their classes.

Eighty percent of British teachers bought food for their students to relieve their hunger, the study showed, adding many of the students had claimed that their families could not afford to feed them in the morning.

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