Millions could miss out on Christmas dinner this year
published on 29 Nov 2022
Nearly a third of people are worried about being able to afford Christmas dinner this year amid the cost of living crisis, according to a survey by The Salvation Army.
The stats show that working aged people are the group most likely to be worried about the affordability of the Christmas meal, in particular:
- 18-24 years: 37%
- 25-34 years: 38%
- 35-44 years: 43%
- 45-54 years: 33%
- 55-64 years: 27%
- 65+ years: 16%
Pam, aged 51 from Penrith has a 13-year-old daughter and works as a school meal supervisor.
She said: “It’s really a tough life at the minute, and I work! Universal Credit tops up my wage and it still doesn’t go far enough in general let alone with the added expense over Christmas.
“My car recently failed its MOT. I need a car for work and for my daughter so choosing not to pay that bill isn't an option. I live day by day and I’ll tackle issues as I get to them; my daughter will never go hungry but I am prepared to eat a big breakfast so I won’t need lunch if that’s what needs to happen, and I could very well be needing to use a food bank for Christmas Day the way things are going.”
The survey of more than 2000 UK adults carried out by Savanta Comres on behalf of the church and charity also found:
- Nearly one in six (16%) expect to use items from a food bank for their festive meal.
- More than one in three (38%) would likely skip meals over Christmas if they were landed with an unexpected major expense such as a broken boiler or essential car repair.
- One in seven (14%) cannot afford to give their children a Christmas present this year.
- Nearly one in five (18%) expect to spend time over Christmas in a building that is free to visit so they can keep warm.
John, a 64-year-old grandfather from Middlesbrough who does voluntary work, said: “I usually go to relatives for Christmas dinner, but they can’t afford to have me this year so I will stay at home. I am going to treat it like a normal day and have sandwiches for lunch as I’m worried it will cost too much to buy the food and cook it. It is going to be a terrible Christmas for me.”
The Salvation Army’s Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant said: “Christmas should be the season of joy, not sorrow. If so many people are worried they can’t even afford one of the most important meals of the year, it’s a red flag that poverty is creeping further into our communities.
“Salvation Army Officers across the country report an unprecedented level of need since the cost of living hit and our food banks have been stretched to the limit. Our officers are also seeing people who used to donate food, now queuing for food parcels.
“The Government’s decision to increase benefits in line with inflation lessens the pain of rising costs on the poorest households. However, the measures announced in the Autumn Statement shows that while the state is trying to help, its ability to stop the creep of poverty has been dangerously reduced due to rising inflation and the overall bleak economic outlook.
“We expect this Christmas to be one of our busiest ever and are providing as many emergency food parcels as possible for those in urgent need and Christmas dinner for isolated older people. And our Present Appeal is giving gifts to children who would otherwise have nothing to open on Christmas Day.
“We also offer a warm space in many of our buildings to people who can’t afford to heat their homes and will support rough sleepers, so they aren’t forced to spend a cold Christmas on the streets. Our officers and volunteers will be on the frontline helping the most vulnerable survive the next few months and have a happy and peaceful Christmas.”