Social Justice

One in five people in the UK's wealthiest areas can't afford food or pay their bills

Charities have launched an open letter to Rishi Sunak urging the government to "stop kids going hungry, end the energy bill ticking time bomb and relieve the sickening worry from families fearing the worst"

cost of living crisis

One in four households across the UK regularly run out of money for essentials. Image: Pexels

One in five people in the wealthiest areas of the UK can’t afford to buy food or pay their bills, according to stark new data that shows the depth of the cost of living crisis.

Leading UK charities who carried out the study – including Save the Children, Shelter and Turn2Us – are now calling on the government to take urgent action to tackle the cost of living crisis. 

The polling questioned people in both the 100 most deprived and the 100 wealthiest constituencies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

It found one in four households across the UK regularly run out of money for essentials. Across the country, 6 per cent of people are trying to survive on incomes so low that they can’t pay for essentials most days.

Dan Paskins, director of UK impact at Save the Children, said: “Whether you’re in a rich or poor area, the majority of people believe the UK government isn’t doing enough to help people in the cost of living crisis. 

“Families are now existing month to month, even day to day in some cases, and going without essentials, making us deeply worried about the impact this has on children.”

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Nationally, two thirds of people (67 per cent) believe the government is not doing enough to tackle the cost of living crisis. 

Even among the 10 most affluent constituencies in the UK, 19 per cent of people say they find themselves unable to pay for the likes of food or bills by the end of most months. That rises to 26 per cent in the most deprived areas. 

Charities Save the Children, Turn2us, Little Village, Shelter and 38 Degrees have launched Together Through This Crisis. It is a space for people to find support, give their time or money and call on the government to act. 

It comes as ministers are preparing for the Spring Budget on March 15. 

The group has launched an open letter to Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt backed by charities, businesses, metro mayors and over 38,000 members of the public. It asks them to take action to ensure the cost of living crisis illustrated by these figures does not become the UK’s “new normal”. 

Matthew McGregor, CEO at campaign group 38 Degrees, said: “This polling paints a bleak picture of the crisis unfolding across the country: families running out of money to put food on the table and keep kids warm is rapidly becoming our new normal.

“As the Spring statement looms, a united message is coming through loud and clear from the British public – in the most and least deprived corners of our country – Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt: do your jobs. Stop kids going hungry, end the energy bill ticking time bomb and relieve the sickening worry from families fearing the worst.”

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The Big Issue’s #BigFutures campaign is calling for investment in decent and affordable housing, ending the low wage economy, and millions of green jobs. The last 10 years of austerity and cuts to public services have failed to deliver better living standards for people in this country. Sign the open letter and demand a better future. 

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