According to research revealing the household types most affected by the cost of living crisis, nearly one-third of single parents have resorted to skipping meals to make ends meet due to rising food costs.
Three out of every ten single parent households surveyed said they had missed meals due to rising food prices. This compares to one in every seven parents in a couple and an overall figure of 14% in a Which? poll.
“Our research has found that families across the UK are struggling with the rising cost of living, with single parents most likely to be skipping meals or turning to food banks to make ends meet,” said Rocio Concha, its director of policy and advocacy.
Which? wants supermarkets to make it easy to compare prices and make budget food options widely available. “As food prices continue to rise, it is critical that everyone has access to affordable, healthy food for themselves and their families,” Concha said.
According to the most recent official data, food price inflation reached 16.4% in October, the highest level since 1977, due to significant increases in the cost of staples such as milk, butter, cheese, pasta, and eggs. One in ten single parents told Which? they had used a food bank in the previous two months, compared to 3% overall.
According to Which?, different households experienced different rates of inflation, with single parents and pensioners suffering the most because they spend a larger proportion of their budget – 30% – on food, energy, and fuel. This drops to about a quarter for couples with children. However, all households are spending a greater proportion of their income on necessities than they did a year ago.
Another troubling sign is that nearly a fifth of single-parent households and one in every seven couples with children reported missing a critical bill payment, such as their mortgage or rent, in September and October. The missed payment rate was 8% on average.
One woman in her early 40s told researchers that because of the cost of her bills she could “barely feed my children some weeks”. Another added: “I’m not eating properly so that I have enough money to feed and clothe my kids, and still have enough to put in my electricity meter.”
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)