Research by the Living Wage Foundation think tank showed people are increasingly turning to payday lenders and going hungry.
A survey of 1,700 workers showed that one in five were forced to take out a payday loan and around two in five were regularly skipping meals.
It’s a damning look at the reality of Britain—even before the fuel price rises and tax increases scheduled for April.
Katherine Chapman, Living Wage Foundation director, said, “Our polling paints an unsettling picture for millions of people as rising living costs compound the challenges of two years of the pandemic.”
She called for a pay raise for “people that kept us going during the pandemic like cleaners and security guards”.
Dave Innes, head of economics at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said, “It is deeply worrying that so many low-paid workers are already skipping meals and taking on debt.”
He warned that “people on low incomes, who spend a higher proportion of their income on essentials, are at the sharpest end of the crisis.”
In addition to debt and hunger, around a third of workers also reported they couldn’t afford to keep their homes warm this winter. This crisis is set to be compounded by the astronomical rises in energy prices in April.
Energy expert Professor Alex Kemp said global increasing demand for gas meant that prices aren’t set to fall any time soon.
And bosses are already threatening to raise prices in order to protect profits. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) bosses’ club said its survey of 1,000 businesses revealed a “cost of doing business crisis”.
Some three out of four respondents said they are planning on raising prices and half are cutting costs.
Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity commented:
“Soaring living costs are a crisis. Rising energy prices will coincide with the planned rise in National Insurance contributions and the freezing of income-tax thresholds in April. Inflation will top 7% by Spring and interest rates are already rising adding to mortgage costs. Higher taxes and energy costs will leave the average family £1300 worse off from April.”
“Sunak’s is offering an insulting £200 energy loan and 80% will receive a £150 Council Tax rebate. These measures will do little to offset the real burden faced by ordinary people.”