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Households forced to pick between heating or eating

Food banks now distributing food which can be cooked using just a kettle, for families which can no longer afford to turn on the cooker

cold winter heater and mug

‘Heat or eat’ is a very real decision for many in the UK

“Kettle boxes” are now being given out by food banks in the UK as consumers struggle to cope with the rising cost of living.

These boxes contain food which can be prepared without using an oven or hob, such as noodles, instant soup and porridge.

A growing number of people have also been given “cold boxes”. The latter contain food which does not need to be heated at all and typically includes breakfast cereal, jams, biscuits and tined fruit and vegetables.

Research carried out by Energy Bill Revolution in January 2013, found that 23% of Brits were forced to make a decision between living in a warm home and having enough to eat.

‘It’s the old cliché: do I heat or eat?’

Speaking on the demand for cold boxes, Annette Smith, a volunteer project co-ordinator of Morecambe Bay food bank in Lancashire, told The Guardian: “We were absolutely astonished when this started to happen, and we were also really upset.

“Why is it happening? It’s the old cliché: do I heat or eat?”

Smith explained that one of the homes which had been given a cold box had seen its energy cut off for the non-payment of a sum lower than £100.

Households continue to struggle due to increasing energy prices

A report issued by uSwitch in October 2013, revealed that eight in ten households planned to reduce their energy consumption over the winter due to increasingly high energy bills.

The news came out just as each of the UK’s major energy suppliers announced they would be raising gas and electricity prices during the winter.

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  • Contax

    If living on a shoestring energy is expensive, old, sick & poor people often eat cold foods as they don’t understand energy charges, capping will not work, need to bannish standing charges for gas, electricity & water, charge just by units used, unit charge would increase a tiny bit but should be calculated to break even on an average 3 bed simi, old/sick/poor pay a little less as no standing charge, well off heavy users would pay a little more, after all the more you use the more emissions you produce just like cars so should pay more. Kids could have a warm meal if only had to pay few coppers to cook beans or eggs on toast for breakfast they would do it & some would benefit. I put bacon offcuts and eggs in pan for breakfast and boil a mug of water for under 3p on gas but then there is the hefty standing charge. A family could cook a large pan of eggs for same price. Needs the MP’s & Quango’s heads banging together ’till they learn, maybe if they had to live on state pension, low income or low benefit they would understand, they are all well paid and buy subsidised meals in house of commons restaurants out of our money.