Cost of living crisis: One in four young people forced to borrow money to buy food

A shopper walking through the aisle of a Tesco supermarket in London. Picture date: Saturday September 3, 2022.
Some 14% of 18-24 year olds are borrowing money from friends and family to afford to buy food. (PA) (PA)

More than one in four young people in the UK are borrowing money to afford their food bills as the cost of living continues to soar, according to new polling.

Food prices are spiralling in the UK, with data from the British Retail Consortium and data firm Nielsen this week showing food inflation UK hit 11.6% in the year to September 2022, the highest level on record.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) certain staples like low fat milk and pasta have soared in price even further, up 42.1% and 22.7% respectively.

Read more: Cost of living crisis: Staples such as tea bags, milk and sugar surge in price as food inflation races to new record high

Research released on Thursday by YouGov has revealed that young people are the age group struggling more with these rising costs, with 26% of 18-24 year olds reporting they are borrowing money to afford food bills.

They are most likely to borrow the money from family or friends at 14%, with 8% turning to another source and 4% borrowing money from loan providers.

Among 25-49 year olds, 25% are borrowing to pay for their food bills.

In contrast, just 3% of over 65s are borrowing to afford their food bills.

Overall, one in six Britons are not confident they can afford to feed their families the research revealed.

Some 17% of Britons are not confident they can afford food and a third are less confident than they were a year ago. (YouGov)
The cost of living is soaring in the UK (Yahoo News UK/Flourish)
The cost of living is soaring in the UK. (Yahoo News UK/Flourish)

In September, the Food Foundation warned that food poverty is on the rise in the UK, with one in five families experiencing it in September.

And the Trussell Trust has said food bank usage is soaring, announcing in October they had run out of their winter emergency supplies amid unprecedented demand.

It comes as the Bank of England (BoE) on Thursday announced it will rise interest rates 3% in an attempt to put a lid on inflation, which is at a 40-year high.

Read more: Iceland to offer 1p ready meals this week

BoE governor Andrew Bailey said it would be a “tough road ahead” for the UK mortgage holders, but warned "it would be worse later on" without action; Bailey also said the UK is already in a recession.

Amid the worsening cost of living outlook, prime minister Rishi Sunak and chancellor Jeremy Hunt have come under pressure from campaigners to uprate benefits with inflation to avoid an explosion of destitution.

However, the pair have refused say if they will stick to the commitment that Sunak made in May – instead warning decisions of "eye-watering difficulty" lie ahead.

The government will lay out its economic agenda on 17 November in the Autumn statement with reports it plans to fill the UK government's £40bn fiscal black hole with an equal split of spending cuts and tax hikes.

Watch: Rishi Sunak warns there are 'difficult decisions to come' amid cost of living crisis