Missed bills and skipping meals: Shocking scale of cost of living crisis revealed in Wiltshire

People are struggling to pay their bills. Picture: GETTY <i>(Image: Getty Images)</i>
People are struggling to pay their bills. Picture: GETTY (Image: Getty Images)

FAMILIES across Wiltshire are missing meals, cutting back on food, water and heating, and missing payments for household bills.

More than half of those questioned (54 per cent) in a new survey by Opinium said they were cutting back on these basics to make ends meet as the cost of living soars.

Around one in 10 people in Wiltshire are missing meals or going without food, and half of households are cutting back on heating, hot water, or electricity.

Meanwhile, 5.7 per cent of reported missing payment of a household bill.

Swindon households are being hit harder still, with more than half (51.6 per cent) cutting back on essentials and one in seven (13 per cent) missing meals.

The poll of 10,000 people across the UK reveals how the cost of living emergency is hitting family budgets in every parliamentary constituency.

The mega survey also reveals that 39 per cent of Wiltshire residents are having to cut back on food spending.

In response to these findings, the Trades Union Congress has argued that more government action is needed to raise wages and cut bills so that people do not have to go without heating or eating.

The group is pushing for universal credit to be uprated in line with inflation, support trade unions, allow unions to negotiate pay rises across sectors, increase key workers' pay, and raise the minimum wage to £15 an hour.

Around two thirds of those surveyed support this minimum wage rise.

South West TUC regional secretary Nigel Costley said: “No one should have to worry about putting food on the table or heating their homes, but households across the region are struggling to cover even the basics.

“This polling lays bare Wiltshire and Swindon’s cost of living emergency. Food and energy bills are soaring, but real wages are plummeting.

“Unless we get pay rising across the economy – and ensure benefits rise in line with inflation - we risk heading towards Victorian levels of poverty.

“The Conservatives should be working with unions to help households get through this crisis. But they want to make it harder for working people to win better pay and conditions.

“Instead of giving bungs to bankers and big business, ministers need to get money into people’s pockets.

“That’s the best way to boost spending in local economies and to deliver lasting growth.”