Cost of living crisis: One in ten low-income Londoners survive on less than £3 a day

Parents are skipping meals in order to feed their children, says food charity.
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Two million children are at risk of missing their next meal, in households that struggle to buy fruit and vegetables.

The impact of rising bills on London families was revealed by The Felix Project, as their new survey found that almost one in ten respondents surveyed have just £2.85 a day to spend on breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Children go to school with empty lunchboxes as there is no food at home.Children go to school with empty lunchboxes as there is no food at home.
Children go to school with empty lunchboxes as there is no food at home.

The Felix Project provides a free door-to-door service to collect surplus food from suppliers, and deliver it to charities. The charity’s CEO, Charlotte Hill told LondonWorld: “It is incredibly difficult for anyone to budget on £2.85 a day. Felix rescues a really good balanced diet which includes fruit and veg. It’s nutritious and this is a big part of the challenge for people who are budgeting on a very small amount of money each day. Parents are often not eating themselves but also to eat healthily.”

“We set up Felix with the expectation of helping people on the margins of society, who didn’t have access to a kitchen, for example homeless people. What we are seeing increasingly it is working families who can’t afford to turn their ovens on.

Hill added: “Parents having to send their kids to school with empty packed lunch boxes. They are too proud to admit they don’t have food to put in them.”

“It is absolutely harrowing to hear these stories in 2022. We are living in London – one of the greatest cities in the world. This is a crisis that is going to deepen.”

London’s largest food redistribution charity surveyed people living in the capital with an annual salary of under £20k and asked how much money they have left for food per week.

Around 12% have between £20 and 29.99 a week to spend on food - less than half the average household’s weekly food shop - just over £4.28 a day.

Approximately 4% had £10 at most to spend on food, which is just over £1.40 per day. Most worrying of all, 2% had nothing left at all to spend on food.

When asked how they might overcome the rising costs of gas and electricity, the top answers among respondents were to only eat one hot meal a day, with 44% not cooking anything that takes too long.

Kate (not her real name) , a mum of three, gets help from the Felix Project. She says: “I work part-time so making ends meet is a real struggle, I only have around £30 to £40 a week to feed myself and my children, which does not stretch very far. I found the North Kensington Community Kitchen during Covid, when I lost my job.

“I do not know what I would have done without them, they have been lifesavers. Getting by is very stressful, there have been times when I have cried thinking about how I will manage to pay my rent, my bills and buy food. I regularly skip meals or only eat once a day to ensure I can feed my children.”

Ayesha (not her own name) is a single mum of three, who runs her own cleaning business. She often has to miss out on meals to make sure her children have enough to eat. “I often don’t eat, I had no breakfast this morning. I probably won’t eat until this evening. My kids - I’ll make sure they have they’ve eaten, that’s the most important thing.”

Ayesha is worried about the future and winter, saying she will have to be inventive when it comes to electricity use. “I use the oven a lot less, on Sunday I’ll cook enough to move food for the Monday and so on, lots of batch cooking and then turning that into purees for my sons. I’m actually trying to stay out of the house and go other places to use their electricity, I go to lots of play groups as much as I can to get out the house.”

At least three million tonnes of edible food waste is generated by the UK food industry each year.

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