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News ID: 109676
Publish Date : 02 December 2022 - 22:32
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LONDON (Dispatches) --
People are eating pet food and trying to heat meals using candles as a result of the cost of living crisis, a community food project manager has said.
UK inflation has reached a 41-year high, with the cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks soaring by 16.4 percent in the year to October, in what has been the biggest rise since 1977.
Added to soaring energy bills, households are being forced to make difficult choices between heating and eating - and it is claimed some have resorted to more extreme measures.
“I’m still shocked by the fact that we have people who are eating pet food, people who are trying to heat their food on a candle or a radiator,” Mark Steed, who runs the Pantry in Cardiff’s Stowbridge area, told the BBC.
“These are shocking kind of stories that are actually the truth, we know from trusted people that have ended up sharing this in tears with us – it shouldn’t happen.”
Prices have been rising at their fastest rate in four decades, with wages in the UK set to continue to stagnate, amounting to a loss of 6.2 percent – or an average of -£1,750 – over the next two years, according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the tightest contraction of any G7 economy.
There have been increasing numbers of people in public sector jobs such as teaching and healthcare forced to rely on food banks as the cost of living crisis intensifies, and mass strikes are taking place among workers in education, the NHS and the rail industry as people demand better pay.
Tens of thousands of teachers at schools in England and Wales are voting for the first time in a decade on whether to go on strike, amid claims that a significant number of primary teachers are working second jobs – in bartending and on a farm, at one school alone – just to afford essentials.
University staff also held what were
billed as their largest-ever strikes this month, with nurses also set to stage their first-ever UK-wide strike in the weeks ahead, joining transport and postal workers on the picket lines.
Speaking to the BBC, Seed – a community worker of 20 years experience – said: “Cardiff is a flourishing city, however there are pockets of deprivation which are simply not acceptable.
“People are not being paid enough to afford essentials, he warned, as the cost of living crisis pushes prices way up “so that everybody is squeezed or they just can’t afford it.
“What they are telling us is that they are working every hour they can.”
The cost of living crisis is affecting millions across the country. According to the charity National Energy Action, over eight million households in the UK will be in fuel poverty by next April.
That would include 1.8 million carers, 5.9 million low-income and financially vulnerable households and 3.6 million disabled people.
That’s an increase of nearly 90% from last year and means one in three households will be paying a disproportionate amount of their income on energy bills.
A home is considered to be in fuel poverty if households need to spend 10 percent or more of their income on energy to properly heat their property.
Eighty-one percent of homeowners told an NEA survey they will ration heating over the next three months, 55 percent are already cutting back on hot water and 13 percent are reducing use of medical equipment.
In April, the cap on household energy bills will mean average bills will rise from £2,500 to £3,000 a year.
Meanwhile, the End Fuel Poverty Coalition said more frail and older people could die next winter without further action to cut bills for the most vulnerable.

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