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Wed, 30 September 2020

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“Eat out? I can barely afford to eat in”: While government pays for meals out, families struggle to put food on the table

Save the Children

2 min read Partner content

Save the Children is calling for an urgent £20-a-week boost to the child element of Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit, to support struggling families and minimise the long-term impact of the crisis on children.

Nichola is a single mum of one daughter from West Sussex. She won’t be ‘Eating Out to Help Out’ this month, as she can barely afford to feed herself and her daughter on what she receives in Universal Credit from the government.

“Covid has been very difficult for me. I’m supposed to be a shielded person so I shouldn’t have left the house for the past four months. Unfortunately I wasn’t in a position to do that because I do things like shop at Aldi – not shops that do home delivery as I just can’t afford that sort of thing.”

While the government is paying people to eat out in restaurants, income losses and the additional costs of lockdown have put increased pressure on already overstretched family budgets, and families on Universal Credit are having to cut back on food and other essentials. Recent research by Save the Children and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) found that 70% of families on Universal Credit or Child Tax Credit have had to cut back on food and other essentials, while 60% have been forced to borrow money including using payday loans or credit cards.

Save the Children is calling for an urgent £20-a-week boost to the child element of Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit, to support struggling families and minimise the long-term impact of the crisis on children.

Becca Lyon, Head of Child Poverty Campaigns at Save the Children, said:

“Life at the moment is especially hard for families with children. Lots of us want to ‘eat out to help out’, but many parents have been left to make impossible choices about whether to put food on the table or money in the electricity meter. A £20 a week increase in social security will give families like Nichola’s the lifeline they need to pull them through these difficult times.”

Watch Nicola's video here: 

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