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Disabled people five times more likely to experience food poverty, says Food Foundation

17 February 2022

The Food Foundation has published new research highlighting a sharp increase in the number of people experiencing food insecurity, up from 7.3% of households to 8.8% - or 4.7 million adults in the UK.

Food insecurity means being unable to afford food and as a result having smaller meals than usual, or skipping meals; being hungry but not eating because of food costs; or not eating for a whole day.

Disabled people are highlighted as one of the groups most affected, being 5 times more likely to be at risk from food insecurity compared to non-disabled people.

Kamran Mallick, Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK said “The rapid escalation in Disabled people experiencing food poverty is truly shocking. It is the Disabled people facing the biggest barriers to independence and inclusion that are in the worst situation, how can this possibly be acceptable?

“With rising energy bills, increasing inflation and benefits pegged at a horrendously low level, millions of Disabled people are living in conditions comparable to the nineteenth century workhouse.”

Other groups at higher risk include people from Black and Minority Ethnic households according to the Voice newspaper. The research also says that people on Universal Credit are 5 times more likely to have experienced food insecurity in the past six months, and the number of households with children experiencing food insecurity has also risen. This means there are 2 million children who do not have access to a healthy and affordable diet.

Anna Taylor from the Food Foundation pointed out that the Government’s ‘Levelling Up’ white paper commits to boosting productivity, pay and job security, but not to reducing food insecurity rates. She added “If the Government wants to really get to grips with the issue, a comprehensive approach to levelling-up must tackle food insecurity head on.”