Financial causes of food Poverty in Shropshire

Increased cost of living

 

After housing, fuel and power costs food is the largest expenditure for low income households, at 14.3% of their income. Food prices rose 28% in UK between 2007 and 2016, but average household incomes rose 5.1% in the same time period. When incomes are squeezed, food is often the only part of a household budget which can be cut.

Shropshire is a low wage economy

  • Employment is high (81%) but part time working is also high (37% of jobs) & much work is insecure (zero hours contracts) 

  • Average hourly rate is low (£12.85), falling far short of the national average (£14)

  • Low income workers are increasingly struggling to cover the costs of a minimum income standard 

People in and out of work have been hit hard by changes to the benefits system

  • Shropshire has a low level of unemployment (1.2% claiming out of work benefits July 2018)

  • Since 2010 45 benefits have been capped, scrapped, frozen or reduced

  • Shropshire will see an annual loss of £102,000,000 per year when all the benefit cuts announced since 2010 have taken effect 

  • 27,000 families in Shropshire will be impacted, many of whom are receiving in work benefits to top up low incomes

 

People with health issues are often unable to improve their financial situation

 

Many people in Shropshire fall into food poverty because of health issues or disability. 

Shropshire has higher than national average number of benefits claims due to sickness or disability (8,600 people Apr 2017-Mar 2018)

People with long term illness or disability have been particularly affected by changes to the benefit system

Food banks across Shropshire report high levels of people with mental health issues seeking help with food

Many people on low incomes or benefits fall into debt

 

  • 25% of households living in poverty are behind on paying household bills 

  • UK Household bill debts amounted to £19 billion in 2017-18 

  • Shropshire Citizens Advice Service helped 1180 clients in 2017/18 with their debt issues