Inflation surge worsens food scarcity for UK single-parent households
According to a recent survey conducted by the UK's statistics agency, over 25% of single-parent households in Britain have experienced food shortages due to the rising inflation. The survey, which involved nearly 15,000 households between February 8 and May 1, revealed that 5% of respondents had run out of food in the previous two weeks and were unable to purchase more. This percentage increased significantly to 28% for single-parent households with at least one child.
Inflation has been a significant factor in these circumstances, with consumer price inflation reaching its highest level in 41 years at 11.1% in October 2022. Food price inflation also hit a record high since 1977 in March, exceeding 19%.
Although British supermarkets indicate that prices are starting to decrease, data from the British Retail Consortium trade body shows that prices in June were still almost 15% higher compared to the previous year.
To address the situation, the UK government raised its main welfare benefits by 10.1% in April and provided additional assistance for energy bills. Despite these efforts, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that 21% of benefit recipients still found themselves without sufficient funds to afford food.
The impact is felt most severely by larger families, as support payments since 2017 have been limited to a maximum of two children per household, with only a few exceptions.
Furthermore, the ONS survey highlighted that individuals who rent their homes face greater financial pressure compared to homeowners with mortgages. Approximately 43% of renters found it very or somewhat difficult to afford their rent, while the same applied to 28% of individuals with mortgages.
The Bank of England has raised interest rates from 0.1% to 5% since December 2021, with expectations of further increases. Consequently, the government has requested that lenders allow mortgage-holders in arrears up to a year before repossessing their homes.
Tenants who fall behind on rent payments typically have less time before facing eviction. Some small landlords are also responding to higher mortgage costs and increased sector regulations by either selling their properties or raising rent prices.