Britons fear running out of food, staying warm: survey

By Andy Bruce

LONDON (Reuters) – One in six people in Britain worry about running out of food and more cannot keep warm enough at home, according to an official survey on Thursday that also showed widespread feelings of social and economic failure.

The Office for National Statistics said 16% of people were worried or very worried about running out of food before they had money to buy more. This situation is already a reality for 6% of people.

Some 23% of those surveyed said they were unable to comfortably stay warm at home either occasionally or always.

While other European countries also grapple with double-digit inflation and skyrocketing energy bills following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Britain has the oldest and longest housing stock mainland’s energy-guzzler, as government programs to improve insulation have been scaled back over the past decade.

The ONS figures echo widespread discontent among Britons over the direction of one of the world’s largest economies. The demand for food banks has exploded over the past decade and workers are increasingly going on strike.

Polling firm Ipsos said last week that 62% of the public think the country is heading in the wrong direction, compared to 14% who think it is moving in the right direction – a challenge for new Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who says he is making tough decisions needed to get the economy back on track.

The opposition Labor Party says the issues reflect decisions made during the Tories’ 12 years in power.

The ONS said 78% of people felt frustrated that British society was not what it should be, while 74% said they feared things were going wrong in society.

The survey, conducted between November 22 and December 4, had 2,524 respondents.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by William Schomberg)

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