Prices of everyday foods like bread up by more than half

Cost of living: Bristol resident says food shop has increased by £30

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The crisis is deepening with almost half of people struggling to pay energy bills and almost a third finding it difficult to keep up with rent and mortgage payments.

The crisis is deepening with almost half of people struggling to pay energy bills and almost a third finding it difficult to keep up with rent and mortgage payments.

The data showed those worst hit by the price of gas and electricity were people using pre-payment meters – with 72 percent grappling to keep up with the increases. Some 55 percent of disabled people also found it tough to afford these bills.

The Office for National Statistics recorded, in two sets of figures, the shocking rise in food prices and the deepening impact of the situation. Analysts collected more than a million prices from supermarkets over the past year to understand the impact on poorer households.

The research showed the cost of the cheapest vegetable oil had spiked 65 percent and the cheapest pasta was now 60 percent more expensive than 12 months ago.

Other grocery staples that have risen sharply in the period to September include tea up 46 percent, chips up 39 percent, bread up 38 percent and biscuits up 34 percent. Mixed frozen vegetables rose by 31.9 percent and there were also significant increases in milk (29.4 percent) crisps (23.7 percent), instant coffee (18.8 percent) and sausages (18.3 percent)

Some items did fall in price – with orange juice down nine percent and minced beef seven percent.

Sir Ian Diamond, the UK’s national statistician, said: “The spike in inflation began with energy prices but fresh insights show they are filtering through to other important items.

“While rises in food and energy costs are affecting many people, those who are disabled, from certain ethnic minority backgrounds and renters are among those struggling the most.”

The ONS also analysed responses from 13,305 people aged 16 and over in Britain.

Some 69 percent of black adults are finding it hard to afford their energy bills compared to 44 percent of white adults while 59 percent of Asian adults are battling to cope. Around 36 percent of disabled adults find it tough to afford the rent or mortgage payments compared with 27 percent of the non-disabled.

Rachel Bull, from The Trussell Trust which supports UK food banks, said: “For the first time, they are telling us the need for emergency food is outstripping donations for food parcels.

“In August and September, food banks in our network distributed 46 percent more emergency food parcels than the same period in the previous year and are now preparing for the busiest and toughest winter yet.”

Sue Davies, from consumer group Which?, said: “Our research shows millions of people skipping meals or struggling to provide healthy meals.

“It is essential that people get the support they need from businesses, as well as the Government. Supermarkets have a crucial role to play in supporting their customers.

“They should ensure budget lines for affordable essential items are available across their stores so people can easily compare prices to get the best value and that promotions are targeted at people most in need.”

A Treasury spokesperson said: “The Government’s Energy Price Guarantee will save the typical household around £700 this winter.

“In addition, we have provided at least an extra £1,200 of cost-of-living support to eight million of the most vulnerable households.

“We have also reversed the rise in national insurance contributions and made changes to Universal Credit to help working households keep more of what they earn.”

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