Labour attack government over poll showing one in eight workers forced into ‘skipping meals’

Posted On: 
7th September 2017

One in eight workers in the UK are skipping meals while one in six go without heating to make ends meet, a new poll has found.

UK families are forced into skipping meals according to the TUC poll
PA Images

Alongside the 13% going without food and 17% having to brave the cold, the TUC/GQR ‘mega poll’ revealed a quarter of workers would be unable to stump up for an unexpected £500 bill.

The union say research that they have carried out shows while real wages in the UK have fallen since 2008, they rose across Europe.

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Labour has branded the findings "devastating".

And of those that could pay, one in five (22%) say they would have to go into debt or sell something.

The poll of more than 3000 working adults also found that nearly half (44%) have fears over whether they will meet basic household expenses, such as food, transport and energy.

Meanwhile a third (36%) think cost of living pressures are worsening while 17% have pawned something in the last year because they were short on money.

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Peter Dowd, said: "This is yet further devastating evidence of the consequences of seven years of the Conservatives’ mismanagement of our economy which has left many people struggling to afford basic necessities.

"While the Conservatives are running an economy rigged for an elite few and failing to tackle tax avoidance, Labour will stand up for the many and put more money in people’s pockets by introducing a £10 an hour Real Living Wage, scrapping the public sector pay cap and reducing household bills by bringing key public services and utilities back into public hands."

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said of the findings: “When you come home from a long day at work, you shouldn’t have to worry whether you can afford to eat. Having a job should provide you with a decent life, but it’s not even covering the basics for many.

“Ten years on from the crash, working families are on a financial cliff edge. Pay packets are worth less and less, but bills keep rising, and personal debt is at crisis levels.

“The government’s inaction must not last. Ministers can raise wages by scrapping public sector pay restrictions, investing to create great jobs across the country, and increasing the minimum wage.”

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, Theresa May said the Government’s focus was on “tackling the root causes of poverty”.

She said ministers would be “looking at” the proposals put forward by Labour MP Frank Field’s bill to provide free meals to poorer children who may go hungry in the holidays because of the absence of school lunches.

She added: "Nearly three quarters of children from workless families when their parents entered into full time work and we see record levels of employment under this government; that’s why this is so important, ensuring we get a strong economy and those jobs."