Millions missing meals

11 May 2022
New data published by The Food Foundation show increasing numbers of people in the UK are not getting enough food.

This latest poll has revealed that 7.3 million adults reported to have gone without food or been unable to physically get food during April. This is a rise of 57% since January. These adults live in households which include 2.6 million children.

These devastating figures are only worsening, thanks to government inaction. These issues have been escalating for some time now. On the ground, reports from food banks suggest users are increasingly likely to request food that doesn’t need cooking, due to soaring fuel costs pricing people out of heating meals. The problems are not forecast to improve, and government decisions are intensifying the issues, as National Insurance and energy price rises hit people’s purses and benefit levels are in real terms being cut.

The Food Foundation makes four recommendations:

  1. Increase benefits and ensure the real living wage is paid
  2. Build resilience into our food system with a Good Food Bill
  3. Rebalance food prices to make healthy food most affordable
  4. Expand free school meals, breakfast provision and healthy start

Given the stark reality of the cost of living crisis for so many millions of people, it is disappointing that the government did not commit to more action in the Queen’s speech. We hope solutions are being proposed in the government’s delayed white paper response to the National Food Strategy, including extending free school meals to more pupils, guaranteeing at least one hot, nutritious meal each school day.