Students Forced To Rely On Food Banks Due To Cost Of Living Crisis
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A survey carried out by National Union of Students (NUS) has found that one in 10 students are relying on food banks during the cost of living crisis.
The results paint a damning picture of the current difficulties being faced by Brits across the country, with a Food Foundation survey discovering that approximately 7.3 million adults live in households that skipped meals in April. With inflation having risen sharply in recent months and energy prices at record high levels, millions are struggling to get by and are turning to food banks for help.
The NUS survey of over 3,500 university students found that a third are living on less than £50 a month after paying their rent and bills. Many reported that their maintenance funds are not enough to pay for a weekly shop, allow them to travel to university or cover their energy bills.
96% reported cutting back as a result of the crisis, with one in five stating they're currently unable to buy toiletries and one in 10 unable to buy sanitary products when needed. 75% said they would be unable to purchase course materials, while 41% said they're neglecting their health so they can save money by missing out on the likes of dentist appointments.
More than eight in 10 have resorted to using credit cards, buy-now-and-pay-later credit schemes such as Klarna or taking out bank loans.
92% admitted the crisis is affecting their mental health, with 31% saying soaring costs are having a major impact.
The cost of living crisis is proving particularly difficult for students with caring responsibilities and disabilities, those who are estranged from their families and people from poorer backgrounds.
Speaking on the survey, an NUS spokesperson said: “Huge increases in the price of bills, food and living costs coupled with soaring rent has students on the brink […] We’re seeing stress and anxiety piling on them from bouncing debt between different cards to stay afloat.
“Despite all of this, students are being completely ignored by the government. These findings are bleak; we’re knee-deep in a cost of learning crisis that will affect the poorest students the hardest.” The survey comes just days after the University and College Union (UCU) revealed that a whole range of university staff from young academics to low-paid support workers such as porters and cleaners are finding themselves unable to eat properly. Staff members at Leeds said they couldn’t afford adequate meals and called for a staff food bank on an anonymous message board that had been set up by students protesting over low staff pay.
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