29 September 2021
Millions of Parents Facing Food Insecurity Due to Soaring Energy Bills and Rising Food Prices
#WriteNow – Marcus Rashford calls on people to urgently contact their MP
- Increases in fuel and food prices mean people will have to choose between eating and heating in the coming months. This will likely be worse for households with children.
- Energy bills are expected to rise when the cap is increased by 12% on Monday
- 64% of households with children on pre-payment meters report that in order to afford their energy bills they are at risk of having to buy less food and 80% at risk of having to buy cheaper food (FF data).
- 55% of households with children are worried their children’s health and wellbeing will be affected in the context of these rises (FF data).
- Marcus Rashford calls on public to write to their MP in support of 3 asks in the National Food Strategy to relieve child food poverty – #writenow
New data being released today by the Food Foundation shows that increases in fuel and food prices mean people are going to have to choose between eating and heating in the coming months. This will likely be worse for households with children.
The cap on energy bills is due to be increased by 12% on Monday 1st October (ref). The data also shows that people who are already on prepayment meters will be worst affected (an estimated 4 million households are on prepayment meters (ref). The choice will be stark – put money in the metre or buy food. In the past year, 73% of households with children on prepayment meters report having had to cut back on food spending to pay their energy bills (FF data). 80% report that they would consider cutting back food spending further in the context of the fuel price rises (FF data).
Food prices are also likely to start rising as a result of the knock-on effects of the HGV crisis, labour shortages especially in the hospitality sector, rises in prices of CO2 and increases in world food prices. Price rises of 5% are predicted in the coming weeks – with a potential second wave of increases in the new year (ref).
Not only are prices rising, but income for many will fall due to the end of furlough and in early October, households on Universal Credit will start feeling the effects of the £20 cut to their household income.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation estimate that for a couple with two children earning less than £20k annually and on Universal Credit, they will be approximately £130 worse off per month with the combined effects of the price increases and the cut in Universal Credit. This is the same amount which an average individual in the poorest 10% of households spends on their entire monthly food and drink budget (ref).
Food banks are already seeing shortages in food supply so will be unable to support more people struggling over the Autumn and Winter (ref).
Children living in fuel poor homes are at greater risk of health problems especially respiratory problems (ref), which is particularly concerning in the Covid context. 55% of households with children are worried their children’s health and wellbeing will be affected because they can’t afford their energy and food bills in the context of these rises (FF data).
Marcus Rashford’s #WriteNow campaign calls on the general public to write to their MPs and support urgent action to End Child Food Poverty.
He is calling on Government to urgently support three recommendations and include the funds needed in the Autumn Spending Review expected on 27th October. This follows his previous campaign when over 1.1 million people signed a petition on the parliamentary website.
The 3 recommendations Marcus is supporting, part of Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy, will guarantee that every child at risk of going hungry gets some good food every day. They are:
- Expand Free School Meal eligibility to all children aged 7-18 in all households earning £20,000 or less after benefits, and to children that are undocumented or living in households with the NRPF immigration condition.
- Provide long-term funding for the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, increasing eligibility in line with Free School Meal expansion.
- Expand Healthy Start eligibility to all households earning £20,000 or less after benefits with pregnant women or children under five and invest in a communications campaign to increase awareness and uptake of the scheme.
Anna Taylor, Executive Director of Food Foundation said: “We need the Government to get ahead of this crisis before winter sets in when the consequences become much more serious. Government needs to U-turn on the Universal Credit cut and establish a minimum nutritional safety net so that at risk children get at least one decent meal a day.”
Notes to Editor
Jo Ralling – 07770 500858 / [email protected]
Data collected by Focaldata from a nationally representative sample of 1587 parents of children aged 0-17 between 27th – 28th September 2021 using its proprietary data collection platform FDCore. Focaldata is a research data company that has been at the forefront of using the latest data collection software and machine learning based techniques to estimate public opinion.
The Food Foundation
The Food Foundation is a charity working to influence food policy and business practice, shaping a sustainable food system which makes healthy diets affordable and accessible for all. We work in partnership with researchers, campaigners, community bodies, industry, investors, government and citizens to galvanise the UK’s diverse agents of change, using surprising and inventive ideas to drive fundamental shifts in our food system. These efforts are based on the continual re-evaluation of opportunities for action, building and synthesising strong evidence, convening powerful coalitions, harnessing citizens’ voices and delivering impactful communications.
Registered Charity Number 1187611
About the Child Food Poverty Task Force
Formed by footballer Marcus Rashford, the Child Food Poverty Task Force is a group of businesses and charities who, over the coming weeks, will dedicate their platforms to sharing real stories of those most affected by child food insecurity in the UK, supported by real-time statistics. The task force comprises: Aldi, Asda, Co-Op, Deliveroo, The Food Foundation, Fareshare, Iceland, Heinz, Kellogg's, Lidl, Marcus Rashford, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Yeo Valley Organic and Waitrose & Partners.
The intention and objective of the task force is to see sufficient funds from the Chancellor’s Budget and Spending Review allocated to implement the 3 policy recommendations – a unifying step to identifying a long-term solution to child food poverty in the UK.