Issue date
New MRP poll reveals that 1 in 6 (17%) people are going hungry. More than half of people cutting back on heating, hot water and electricity. Stark findings published as UK Government scales back energy support and decides on whether to uprate benefits in line with inflation. Poll reveals “scale of cost of living emergency” in every Wales parliamentary constituency.

1 in 6 (17%) people in Wales are skipping meals or going without food, a new TUC mega poll has revealed today (Tuesday).

The MRP poll of 10,000 people across the UK, reveals how the cost of living emergency is hitting family budgets in every single parliamentary constituency – and that more government action is needed to raise wages and cut bills.

Skipping meals

The poll – carried out for the TUC by Opinium – shows that 1 in 6 people across Wales are having to skip meals or go without food to make ends meet.

However, in 10 parliamentary constituencies this number rises to 1 in 5 or above.

Rhondda has the highest number of constituents having to skip meals or miss out on food, followed by Blaenau Gwent.

Cutting back on food spending

The mega survey also reveals that nearly half (48%) Wales residents are having to cut back on food spending.

In 11 constituencies more than half of constituents are cutting back on food spending.

Rising bills

The poll - published in the same week the government reduced long-term support for energy bills - shows households across Britain are still deeply worried about rising bills.

Over half (56%) of Wales’s population are cutting back on heating, hot water or electricity.

Almost 1 in 12 (8%) of those polled report missing payment of a household bill.

However, this number rises to 1 in 10 in Swansea West.

Benefits and wages

The TUC says the findings were a “stark reminder” of the cost living pressures facing households.

The union body says the government must:

  • Stick to plans to uprate universal credit, benefits and pensions in line with inflation, and bring forward to this uprating to before April. This must be the first step on a route to higher levels of universal credit, benefits and pensions
  • Get pay rising across the economy by backing trade unions and allowing unions to negotiate pay rises across whole sectors
  • Give key workers in the public sector cost-of-living proofed pay rises
  • Raise the minimum wage to £15 an hour as soon as possible

Today’s poll reveals that more than 7 in 10 (71%) back raising the minimum wage to £15 an hour.

Wales TUC General Secretary Shavanah Taj 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 the cost of living emergency in Wales.

“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.”

On the need to boost wages, Shavanah added:

“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.”

Editors note

Polling: Opinium conducted a poll of 10,495 GB adults from 26-30 September 2022 designed to be representative of the national population according to demographics and past voting behaviour. The data from the poll were analysed using a multilevel regression and post-stratification (MRP) approach to derive constituency-level estimates for the results of key questions including voting intention


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