The UK government’s welfare system is failing families throughout the cost of living crisis, a leading charity has warned.
Analysis from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that basic benefits provided to low-income households fell short of meeting household living costs by at least £140 a month, driving an increase in destitution and foodbank use.
The analysis coincided with the release of findings from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) tracking the impact of winter pressures in the UK.
The survey found that amidst rising financial pressures:
- 27% of respondents said they often or sometimes could not afford to eat a balanced diet
- 13% had cut down meal size or skipped meals
- 9% said they had often or sometimes ran out of food and couldn’t afford to buy more
- 34% of adults agreed (strongly agreed or agreed) that increases in the cost of living had negatively impacted their mental health.
Commenting, the SNP’s Social Justice spokesperson, David Linden MP said:
“Westminster is failing families through a cost of living crisis of its own creation – proving beyond a doubt that only with the full powers of independence can we support households through difficult times.
“It’s no wonder poverty and foodbank reliance is so high in the UK when we have a Tory government unwilling to do what is necessary to lift people out of destitution.
“Unwillingness is exactly what it comes down to.
“Westminster doesn’t lack the funds to support struggling households and alter the course to avert more economic disaster and the rising pressures households are facing – only the political will.
“In contrast, the SNP Scottish Government is working to end poverty and lift families out of destitution with new benefits like the Scottish Child Payment – increased to help families cope with the financial difficulties created by Westminster.
“But it shouldn’t be for the Scottish Government to mitigate the worst of Tory rule, we should be free from the callousness of the Conservative Party and the failures of Westminster with the full powers of independence.
“Only then will we be able to properly assist people through tough times and work to avert cost pressures by setting out on a path towards just economic prosperity.”