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UK cost-of-living crisis: One in seven Britons skip meals, sit in cold homes, as prices soar

People shop at market stalls, with skyscrapers of the City of London financial district seen behind, in London, Britain, January 15, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

One in seven people in the UK skip meals and sit in cold homes due to the worsening cost-of-living crisis, a leading investigation company on consumer affairs has warned.

According to the latest findings from Which?'s Consumer Insight tracker, an alarming number of British households are going without food and cannot afford their energy bills as rising inflation and high energy costs put pressure on incomes.

The findings also suggested that almost one in 10 Britons had prioritized meals for other family members above themselves.

A 72-year-old citizen from West Suffolk told Which? that “the last week of the month, meals are missed - if you have no money for a loaf then there's no lunch and if there's no milk, then there's no breakfast.”

“Basic groceries have gone up to stupid levels - the loaf of bread I usually buy has gotten smaller and more expensive,” she complained.

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Inflation in the UK’s grocery market has soared to a record high of 17.1 percent, hitting prices for milk and eggs the hardest this month. According to market researcher Kantar, this could increase the cost of a family's typical buying basket by £811 per year.

Tesco (TSCDF), the UK's biggest supermarket, said last week that it had temporarily capped the number of packs of tomato, pepper, and cucumber to three per customer. It blamed poor weather in Spain and North Africa for the shortages that the UK government warned could last a month.

Meanwhile, as people are grappling with the sky-rocketing costs, seven in 10 are putting their heating on less, four in 10 are using less hot water and one in five have cooked fewer meals, the investigation body said.

“The house is cold due to the cost of heating, so I am continually wearing layer upon layer of clothes. Saving money on heating allows more money for food,” one 85-year-old man said.

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Furthermore, the low incomes caused 2.3 million households last month to miss a vital payment, such as their mortgage, rent, credit card, or bill payment.

The UK economy is experiencing its worst conditions in decades, with inflation soaring and the cost-of-living crisis weighing further on people’s lives.

Food prices, along with those of numerous other goods used in daily life, have increased primarily as a result of the rise in energy costs since the start of the war in Ukraine last year.

The surging costs and low incomes have prompted most of the labor forces in different industries to stage nationwide strikes, asking for fair payments.

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