Much has been reported in recent months about providing food to families who are struggling to make ends meet, but unfortunately there is a much broader and deeper side to this story: a desperate need for everyday essentials, items that are getting left off the weekly shop long before people turn to food hand-outs.
Low income families are penalised by the poverty penalty that forces them to pay more for essential goods and services, because they are so often excluded from mainstream credit. This creates a cycle of debt and poverty, making it much harder for people to run a home, or in extreme circumstances, leaves them unable to afford the absolute basics such as beds and fridges. Unsurprisingly, the poorest and most vulnerable families are most likely to suffer from living in what are effectively "broken houses".
Having a first baby is emotionally life-changing but the financial impact can be considerable too. Our new report, First Baby in Breadline Britain, finds that while mums-to-be generally realise there will be greater pressure on the family finances, the price tag attached to many items still comes as a shock.