In new data released this week, it’s been reported that disabled people are five times more likely to experience food poverty than those not living with a disability.
In a shocking report, the Food Foundation revealed that, as food prices in the UK rise, disabled adults’ risk of food poverty has increased to 31.1%. When compared to the 6.4% risk able-bodied adults face, the disparity is clear.
These concerning statistics have alarmed the disabled community at large, with CEO of Disability Rights UK, Kamran Mallick, addressing the issue. In a statement, Mallick stated, “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.”
Why and how are the questions that need answering. How is the UK failing those who face the biggest barriers to income and independence so drastically? Why is more not being done to tackle it?
The Full Picture
And it’s not only the disabled community facing fears over increasing food prices and food insecurity. The report also highlighted that the overall risk of food insecurity in the UK has risen from 7.3% to 8.8% in just six months. This comes in tandem with the cost of living crisis, which has seen 62% of UK households experience higher energy bills this winter, with bills set to rise further in the coming months.
The Action Plan
As a result of these damning statistics, The Food Foundation has called on the UK government to make the tackling of food poverty central to the planned ‘Levelling Up’ agenda. Speaking of the call to action, Anna Taylor, executive director of The Food Foundation, said, “The Levelling Up white paper commits to boosting productivity, pay and job security but does not commit to reducing food insecurity rates. Food insecurity is a vital measure if we are to monitor severe material deprivation. It contributes not only to health inequalities and life expectancy but also to social wellbeing. If the Government wants to really get to grips with the issue, a comprehensive approach to levelling-up must tackle food insecurity head-on.”