One-in-eight London families going without essentials

New polling data show extent of cost-of-living crisis in the capital, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Empty wallet (credit Towfiqu Barbhuiya via Unsplash)
credit Towfiqu Barbhuiya via Unsplash

Around one-in-eight households with children in London say they are going without essentials such as food, electricity or gas, new polling has revealed.

The survey – conducted by YouGov and commissioned by City Hall – has highlighted how the continuing impact of the cost of living crisis on Londoners is being particularly felt by families with children.

The poll found that among all Londoners, around 8% report that they are going without essentials like power, heating or meals. When the data is broken down into households with or without children, the figure for families without children drops slightly to 7%.

But among families with children, the proportion saying they are going without the basics rises to 13% – roughly one-in-eight of those households.

The poll also showed almost half of London households with children (49%) think that they will struggle to pay for their regular household food shop within the next six months.

In addition, some 17% of parents and carers say they are already using more credit or going into debt, including overdrafts, loans, credit or store cards or missing payments.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said the data highlighted the urgency of his free holiday meals programme, which is expected to provide around ten million free holiday meals to low-income families across the capital over the next year.

“It is simply appalling that so many families are struggling to put food on the table due to the spiralling cost of living,” Khan said.

“That is why I’ve once again stepped in with emergency funding to help those most in need during the school holidays.

“I’m proud that we’ve provided more than three million meals so far and will be providing millions more to help hundreds of thousands of Londoners throughout the summer break.

“It cannot be right that in a city as prosperous as ours so many people are faced with impossible choices to try to feed their families.

“As mayor, I will continue to do all I can to support Londoners and urge the government to make full use of its powers to stop children going hungry, as we build a fairer city for all.”

Commenting in July on the adequacy of the UK’s system of benefits and ‘cost of living payments’, a government spokesman said: “We know people are struggling, which is why we have a plan to halve inflation and are providing record financial support worth an average £3,300 per household.

“On top of this we have raised benefits including Universal Credit in line with inflation, increased the National Living Wage and are helping households with food, energy and other essential costs.

“We believe that the best route out of poverty is through work, which is why we are helping millions more return to work with a £3.5billion package providing more work coach support and more help for the sick and disabled.”

A recent analysis, funded by the Trust for London, found that more than three-and-a-half million Londoners, including one million children, live on an income below what is needed for a “basic standard of living”.

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