UK

UK Austerity: Families Going Hungry To Keep Their Homes, Say Shelter

27/03/2013 07:28 GMT | Updated 01/04/2014 14:59 BST

More than five million families with children cut back on food last year as they struggled to stay in their homes, a charity has said.

Some 42% of households with children surveyed by Shelter said that they had scaled back on their food shopping, equating to 5.5 million if the figures were projected nationally.

More than one quarter (27%) said they had reduced their use of gas or electricity in order to help meet their rent or mortgage payments as living costs remain high and wages stagnate.

Rents have soared due to strong demand in the rental sector as would-be home buyers have struggled to get access to a mortgage.

However, there have been signs that the situation has eased in recent months, with some rents stabilising following the introduction of government schemes which have made it easier for people to get on the property ladder and prompted lenders to slash their mortgage rates.

However, Shelter said it is bracing itself for an increase in demand for help due to government benefit cuts.

Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive, said: "These startling figures show the daily heartache millions of parents are going through as they face the choice between putting food on the table and paying for the roof over their head.

"For thousands of people already desperately battling to keep their home, further benefit changes next month could be the final blow.

"Anyone whose home could be at risk needs to get advice as soon as possible. Shelter can help prevent more families going through the devastation of losing their home."

More than 4,000 people took part in the study.

Things aren't much better in the US either...