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Posted on 17th December 2021

Government analysis reveals pressure on poorer households’ food budgets

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In a report published on 16th December 2021, the Government acknowledges that falling incomes among Britain’s poorest households could have squeezed their food budgets and left them exposed to increases in the cost of living.

Among the findings of the first UK Food Security Report, published by the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs, are: 

  • ‘Low-income households saw their income fall by 1.1% between [the Financial Year Ending] 2017 and FYE 2020 in contrast to the average household whose income has increased by 4.9% since FYE 2017. With a decrease in income alongside the percentage spent on food having remained the same, the poorest households could have had a diminished budget available for food since FYE 2017’.
  • ‘The poorest 20% of households, for whom income has decreased since 2017, spend a higher proportion of their income on food and are thus more impacted by changes in food prices’. 
  • ‘Between FYE 2017 and FYE 2020, the median disposable income of households in the bottom quintile fell by 11.1% while for all individuals it grew by 0.3%’.
  • ‘In the 10 years from FYE 2010 to FYE 2020 median disposable household income in the bottom quintile fell by 2.7%, and in the top quintile it grew by 2.9%. The average disposable income for all individuals in the UK over the same 10-year period has grown 6.9%’.

Commenting on the findings, Feeding Britain’s National Director, Andrew Forsey, said: ‘Here are some of the most important underlying reasons behind the alarming growth in the numbers of people seeking help from food banks. The ability of all too many of Britain’s poorest households to afford life’s essentials has been stretched to breaking point over the past five years. It is against this backdrop that sudden and unexpected bills, losses of work, or benefit problems have left people hungry and unable to afford food’.