One in six people in Britain are worried about running out of food and more cannot keep warm enough in their own homes, according to an official survey on Thursday that also showed a widespread sense of social and economic failings.
The Office for National Statistics said 16% of people were worried or very worried about their food running out before having money to buy more. That situation is already a reality for 6% of people.
Some 23% of people said they were unable to keep comfortably warm in their own homes, whether occasionally or always.
While other European countries are similarly grappling with double-digit inflation and soaring energy bills after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Britain has the continent’s oldest and most energy-inefficient housing stock, with government schemes to improve insulation slashed in the last decade.
The ONS figures chime with widespread dissatisfaction among British people about the direction of one of the world’s largest economies. Demand for food banks has exploded over the last decade, and workers are increasingly going on strike.
Polling firm Ipsos last week said 62% of the public think the country is heading the wrong way, compared with a 14% who think it is moving the right way – a challenge for new Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who says he is making tough decisions needed to put the economy back on track.
The opposition Labour Party says the problems reflect decisions made during the Conservatives’ 12 years in power.
The ONS said 78% of people felt frustrated that Britain’s society was not as it should be, while 74% said they were afraid that things will go wrong in society.
The survey, conducted between Nov. 22 and Dec. 4, had 2,524 respondents.