Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:17
Figures Show Millions Went Hungry During First Months of UK Lockdown
TEHRAN (FNA)- Government figures revealed that lack of money forced millions of people to go hungry or rely on food banks during the first few weeks of the coronavirus lockdown, with families and young adults worst affected.

Households with children, people with health issues and people aged 16-24 were most likely to either to skip meals or use food charities to feed themselves or their family in April and May, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) data showed, according to The Guardian.

The FSA said this meant between 6.3 million and 7.7 million adults had reduced meal portion sizes or missed meals because of lack of money, and between 2.7 million and 3.7 million adults sought charity food or used a food bank.

Despite rising public concern in recent weeks over pandemic-related hunger and poverty issues – most notably in the government’s U-turn over holiday support for children on free school meals – these are the first official figures showing the scale of the problem.

Nearly a quarter of respondents to the FSA’s COVID-19 tracker survey in May reported they were concerned about whether they would be able to afford food. Of this group, 44% said they had skipped meals or bought less food.

“These data confirm findings from multiple other sources – food banks, other polling data, and many stories of people running out of food. The Covid-19 crisis has made it much harder to access food,” stated Dr. Rachel Loopstra, lecturer in nutrition at King’s College London.

The report was issued on the FSA’s website on Thursday with neither the agency’s social media nor press alert giving prominence to food banks or food insecurity.

The FSA’s survey of more than 2,000 adults’ food and eating habits under COVID-19 ran in April and May, with further waves planned for June and July. As well as food insecurity and food bank use, it looked at changes in individuals’ food consumption.

The first set of published results show nearly one in six people reported being food insecure in May – meaning they went without meals or cut down meal sizes, a proportion that rose to just under a quarter of families with children, and a third of 16-24 year olds.

Nearly one in five (19%) in five adults with a physical or mental health issue had been food insecure in May, the survey found. Older people aged 55-75 were least likely to struggle to put meals of the table – just 4% skipped meals in May.

The data suggests the pandemic has had a dramatic impact on food bank use. The Trussell trust’s State of Hunger report in November estimated 2% of the population had used food banks in the previous 12 months. While not directly comparable, this contrasts with the FSA’s figure of 7% in May.

Emma Revie, the chief executive of the Trussell Trust, which reported an 89% rise in food bank use in April, noted, “It is shocking that 7% of the population of Northern Ireland, Wales and England have been forced to use a food bank and charities during the pandemic.”

The survey showed lockdown restrictions led to an increase in people shopping locally, and fewer buying takeaways. Although people underlined they had eaten more healthy meals, wasted less food and ate together as a family more, nearly half underscored they had snacked more on cakes, biscuits and sweets.

A government spokesperson stated, “The extraordinary circumstances of this pandemic have meant real financial difficulty for many households. To help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials, we are supporting frontline charities and community groups with a grant of up to £16mln, and we recently announced an extra £63mln which will be given to and distributed by local authorities to those in need.”

The survey covered England, Wales and Northern Ireland. A separate exercise is being carried out by the Scottish Food Standards Agency, which is expected to report at the end of the summer.






Bottom top
Spain: Protesters Call for End to Spanish Monarchy after Former King's Exit

TEHRAN (FNA)- Protesters on Sunday called for an end to the Spanish monarchy after the sudden departure of the former king Juan Carlos from the country this week amid a corruption scandal. [VIDEO]
Lebanon: Burned Out Vehicles, Damaged Buildings in Aftermath of Beirut Riot

TEHRAN (FNA)- Destroyed shops and vehicles were seen in Central Beirut on Sunday in the aftermath of a night of clashes between dozens of rioters and the police. [VIDEO]
Palestinians Stand in Solidarity with Lebanon

TEHRAN (FNA)- Palestinians in Gaza attend a vigil to stand in solidarity with Lebanon after deadly blast in capital Beirut. [PHOTOS]
Global COVID-19 cases surpass 20 million

TEHRAN (FNA)- Global cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 20 million, increasing by ten million in just 43 days. [PHOTOS]
Iran’s Judiciary to File Lawsuit against Brian Hook

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s Deputy Judiciary Chief for International Affairs Ali Baqeri called on the country’s prosecutor to lodge a complaint against former US special representative for Iran Brian Hook for his hostile measures and threatening the Iranian military officials with assassination.
Violent Protesters Continue Riot in Lebanon for 2nd Night

TEHRAN (FNA)- Small groups of protesters went out for a second night and clashed with the police near several government premises in Beirut.
Deputy FM Blasts Forged PGCC’s Letter to UN on Extension of Arms Embargos against Iran

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Mohsen Baharvand lashed out at certain members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council for forging a letter to the UN Security Council on behalf of other PGCC countries on extension of arms embargos against Tehran.
Syrian Tribe Declares Popular War Against US Forces, SDF

TEHRAN (FNA)- A Syrian tribe in the Eastern province of Deir Ezzur launched a popular resistance force against US troops and their allies, accusing the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of stealing the country’s resources.
Lawyer: Venezuela Granted Full Leave to Appeal UK Ruling Denying Access to Gold Reserves

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Venezuelan Central Bank (BCV) has been given the right to appeal all aspects of an original ruling by a UK court that denied Caracas custody of Venezuelan gold reserves that are currently being held by the Bank of England, a lawyer said on Monday.
IRGC Deputy Commander: No US Official Valuable Enough to Be General Soleimani's Direct Ransom for Revenge

TEHRAN (FNA)- Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Deputy Commander for Political Affairs Brigadier General Yadollah Javani said that no US official is valuable enough to be targeted as a direct ransom for the assassination of the martyred IRGC Quds Force Commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.
Iran-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Transit Corridor Goes into Operation

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran put the pilot project of Iran-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan transit corridor into operation, as two trucks started on Monday transporting goods from Iran to Afghanistan and finally to Uzbekistan.
Ambassador: New US Representative for Iran Showing Trump’s Confusion

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ambassador to Venezuela Hojjatollah Soltani said that the new US special representative for the Islamic Republic of Iran indicates President Donald Trump's bewilderment.
Looting, Rioting Breaks Out in Chicago After Police Shooting

TEHRAN (FNA)- Large scale protests and unrest broke out in Chicago, including mass looting taking place across the city.
UK to Plunge into Deepest Slump on Record with Worst GDP Drop of G7

TEHRAN (FNA)- Britain’s economy will be officially declared in recession this week for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, as the coronavirus outbreak plunges the country into the deepest slump on record.
UK PM Insists Schools Safe Hours After Children’s Commissioner Calls for More Testing

TEHRAN (FNA)- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted schools are safe to re-open next month just hours after the Children’s Commissioner called for routine coronavirus testing for pupils and teachers.