Nearly 8.4 million people in the UK have faced food insecurities in 2014, new UN data has revealed. The number is equivalent to the entire population of London.
One in 10 adult Britons has reported experiencing severe difficulty in securing enough food to eat, the data reveals. Nearly 50% of these people are said to have gone a whole day without eating at times during the year because they could not afford enough food.
"This survey is a wake-up call reminding us that too many people are sometimes too poor to eat in the UK," Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation, which analysed the UN data, said.
On hunger measures, the UK is placed in the bottom half of the list of EU countries, even below countries like Malta, Hungary and Slovakia. Sweden ranks first with only one in three adults facing food insecurity.
The survey published by the Food Foundation estimates that 4.7 million of the 8.4 million people were living in homes with severe food insecurity — meaning they were unable to secure enough food of good quality and quantity for a healthy living, while the remaining 3.7 million were classified as those living with moderate food insecurities.
Parliamentarian, Frank Field, said: "This is a major contribution to the debate on hunger in our country. We now know for the first time the scale of the challenge confronting the nation to ensure all of us can afford to buy and eat a decent meal without needing to rely on food bank," the Guardian reported.
Because of limitations in the UN data, it was not able to show why some households faced food insecurity and others did not. The data was gathered through a telephonic survey of 1,000 adults.
The Foundation has said the data reveals that 17 times the number of people using Trussell Trust food banks are food insecure, suggesting it is important to measure the whole population and tracking just the food bank will not be sufficient to analyse hunger in the UK.
The chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, Alison Garnham told the Guardian, "No one should be unable to feed themselves or their children in Britain today. To have 8.4 million people unable to eat properly shows the urgency of tackling poverty in the UK."