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Welfare Parents ‘skipping meals’ to keep children fed, new investigation finds

PARENTS are skipping meals because they cannot afford to buy food for their whole family, according to a new report revealing shocking levels of “hidden hunger.”

More than one in 10 adults do not have enough money to buy food, rising to almost one in four parents with children under the age of 18, a survey of more than 2,000 people by End Hunger UK showed.

About one in 12 people polled by the coalition of anti food-poverty charities said they had gone without food for a whole day because of lack of money in the past year.

Four out of five adults believe the government should monitor how many people live with food insecurity.

A private member’s Bill introduced by Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck, which is due to undergo its second reading in Parliament on Friday, calls on ministers to compile an annual report on food insecurity soon after the Office for National Statistics’ annual Living Costs and Food Survey data is published.

Laura Sandys, founder of the Food Foundation, one of the charities in the coalition, said: “The research shows that more and more British families are unable to provide regular meals and are frequently anxious about providing the basics: food on the table for their families.”

The former Thanet South Tory MP admitted: “Not only is this unacceptable in 21st-century Britain, but we have to start counting the health and social consequences for the next generation.

“We know that food insecurity can trigger a range of unhealthy eating habits and force people to buy cheaper, less nutritious and more calorific food.”

Ms Lewell-Buck said food insecurity must be measured as the record number of emergency foodbank parcels given out by the Trussell Trust alone — 1.1 million — is “clearly the tip of the iceberg.”

The UN estimates that more than eight million people in Britain are living with food insecurity, she said.


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