1 in 5 workers are skipping meals to make ends meet, finds TUC poll

By agency reporter
September 30, 2019

One in five (20 per cent) workers are skipping meals to make ends meet, according to new polling by GQR Research for the TUC. When the same question was asked in 2017, one in eight (13 per cent) workers reported skipping main meals because they were short of money.

The poll also reveals that in the last year:

  • one in five workers (19 per cent) went without heating when it was cold
  • one in ten (10 per cent) could not pay their rent or mortgage on time
  • one in five (20 per cent) had pawned or sold something because they were short of money

Asked how they would deal with an unexpected £500 bill, nearly one in three (30 per cent) workers say they wouldn’t be able to pay – up from 24 per cent in 2017.

And of those that could pay, one in four (24 per cent) say they would have to go into debt or sell something. 

A quarter of respondents report running out of money at the end of most weeks or months, while a further 16 per cent have to cut down or stop spending many times a year.

Two-fifths of those polled (41 per cent) say that pay not keeping up with living costs is among their biggest concerns at work.

The TUC says the findings highlight Britain’s deepening cost of living crisis, which is pushing more families into the red.

Analysis published by the union body earlier this month revealed that unsecured household debt rose to £15,880 in the first quarter of 2019 – a £1,160 increase on a year earlier.

The TUC says a toxic mix of rising insecure work, low pay and weak wage growth are key factors behind the living standards crisis. Average wages are still lower, in real terms, than before the crash.

The TUC General, Secretary Frances O’Grady, said: “Having a job should mean you can provide a decent life for your family. But after a decade of low pay, rising insecurity and public spending cuts, millions of working people are struggling to afford even the basics.

“Any responsible Prime Minister would be urgently dealing with Britain’s cost of living crisis. But instead, Boris Johnson is threatening to make things much worse by forcing through a no-deal Brexit. He must stop playing games with people’s livelihoods and rule out no deal once and for all.

“Working people need a government that will get pay rising and rebuild Britain.”

* Trades Union Congress https://www.tuc.org.uk/

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