Brits Living on £20 a week Grocery-Bill

What will $33.88 a week get you for food? Think you could live on that much (or rather little)? Yes, live on that measly sum every week and yet still eat enough to stay healthy is a recipe for failure. The Brits were always criticized for their lack of culinary skills, ridiculed by the over-inflated French, mocked by the munching Madrileños and poked fun at by the German grazers. Then, they got themselves a better image by promoting neo-British food and gastro-pubs where it was good to strap a feed bag on and tuck in to some good British grub, harking back to some glorious past (that might well never have existed). Now the British like to think they can stand on their own two feet where food is concerned. Except, a recent report shows that the British have relatively little to spend on groceries these days and it’s the rising cost of living that is to blame coupled with austerity and falling state aid.

The British have cut their food bills to just £20 (that’s $33.88) per week these days in a growing crisis of what our world has turned into. Today the average household bills are largely made up of electricity and gas as well as water and of course not forgetting the extortionate mortgage prices. At one time we might not have had access to all of that and it’s always hard to look back in the past and harp on about how much better it might have been in the good-old days. But, how much have prices increased over the past year alone and over the past decade in terms of utility bills? It’s a sizeable chunk of the budget. If the banks stopped speculating on utility companies, we might not have a price rise that is getting out of control.

Food: Shopping on a Tight Budget

Food: Shopping on a Tight Budget

Low-Income Households

  • Low-income households spend just £2.10 per person per day on groceries.
  • In July that stood at $3.27.
  • The Real-Life-Reform survey was carried out on 87 families in housing associations in the north of the UK.
  • The survey suggest that people are actually only eating one meal per day and foregoing breakfast and dinner just eating at mid-day.
Food Waste in the World

Food Waste in the World

Food Waste

  • That’s all very good when seen in the light of the backdrop that is represented by the 1.3 billion tons of food that gets thrown away every year in the world through waste.
  • That’s a third of all food production.
  • In the western world we waste 222 million tons alone.
  • It’s not just the food that gets wasted but it’s the energy and the water also that is necessary to produce that food.
  • The USA throws away 30% of all food produced and on sale in the country.
  • That’s a hefty price tag of $48.3 billion.
  • Agriculture uses more water than any other human activity, so we are wasting 30% of the water that goes into production of the food we never get to eat.
  • In high-income countries it is in later stages of the supply chain that the food gets wasted, normally with the end user.
  • We might well wonder if the sell-by dates are to blame for that. We throw food away that is still edible.
  • In the UK 6.7 million tons of food is thrown away per year.
  • 32% of all food bought is thrown away by the British.

The UK all-party parliamentary group on hunger and poverty has also carried out research in the UK and has come to the conclusion that hardship in the UK with regard to groceries is a trend that was already getting worse in the UK but that has only been exacerbated by welfare reforms and austerity.

  • Energy prices alone have increased in the UK since July by 16%.
  • The average family in the Real-Life-Reform Survey now has just £20 per week to spend on groceries after all other bills have been paid.
  • With the winter coming and the onset of the cold weather, that will decrease further as energy prices and increased usage of heating  lead to a drain on that meager sum.

The saving grace is that the British will soon not need any form of heating as they won’t even be able to afford to buy the food to stick it in the oven. What’s to blame? The government changes to the welfare system that were implemented amid austerity plans, eased through Parliament because it was the foreigners that were coming to the UK to benefit from that? Of course we all queue up to get on to the wonderful welfare system on offer in the country.

The British may believe that they are the first country to invent the welfare system, but they certainly didn’t manage to keep it alive. We can’t condemn the welfare state and the so-called spongers that suck the state dry, believing that they should get on and earn a living themselves, when in the same breath we condemn the financial markets and the banks from taking advantage of the system or the state benefiting from their privileged positions. We can’t? We shouldn’t.

Those at the lower end of the scale need a lot more help than those at the top. I can hardly see the Buffets and the Gates of this world popping down the local Cash-Converters or pawnshop to see Uncle so that they can buy a kilo of King Edwards.

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