Free breakfasts are being provided to all elementary school students in London.

The mayor of London has announced an emergency scheme to offer free lunches to all students enrolled in public elementary schools in the city, adding to a growing body of data showing that Brits are having trouble paying for basic necessities.

Sadiq Khan, who grew up with free school lunches, said in a statement on Monday that “families and children across our city are in desperate need of further support” due to the cost-of-living issue.

The £130 million ($156 million) initiative will save families about £440 ($529) per kid and continue for the whole of the school year beginning in September. The statement further stated that it will aid in lowering the “stigma that might be connected to being marked out as low income.”

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According to national standards that are mostly based on household income, a quarter of all London students, including those in high school, already meet the eligibility requirements for free school meals.

Researchers for the local administration anticipate that the new initiative will assist about 270,000 students who are not currently eligible.

This figure is consistent with the Child Poverty Action Group’s estimate that due to the “so tight” eligibility requirements, around 210,000 low-income children in London do not meet the requirements for free school meals.

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On November 29, 2022, students at St Mary’s RC Primary School in Battersea, south London, have lunch.
On November 29, 2022, students at St Mary’s RC Primary School in Battersea, south London, have lunch.
AFP/Getty Images/Daniel Leal
As salaries and welfare benefits are reduced by inflation, which is close to reaching its highest level in four decades, more and more Britons are finding it difficult to purchase food and power, according to new data released on Monday.

According to a study conducted by the advocacy group Independent Food Aid Network among 85 food banks, 89% reported higher demand in December and January than during the same time last year.

Over 80% of food banks reported a large increase in the number of people who needed assistance for the first time, as well as a rise in the number of people who required continuing assistance rather than sporadic food deliveries. A little over a third of businesses claimed to have worked with National Health Service (NHS) employees. Since December, the NHS has been the target of many strikes over wages and working conditions.

Working individuals on low wages who are struggling to make ends meet are our fastest-growing clientele, according to Su Parrish of The Easter Team, a food bank in Crawley, south of London.

Parrish said, “Clients warned us they wouldn’t be able to afford to put ovens on, even on Christmas Day,” so we adjusted the regular contents of the Christmas parcels and provided a “record” amount of them.

FEBRUARY 1, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: On February 1, 2023, in London, United Kingdom, education employees hold a rally in Westminster during a day of strikes across the country. Today, public sector union members in the UK are striking in the education, civil service, and railroad industries. For the first time, teachers are striking over wages and working conditions, joining 100,000 other government workers who are also calling for pay increases. The long-running strike by the ASLEF and RMT railway drivers will continue on Friday as well. (Image: Dan Kitwood via Getty Images)
UK strikes reach a 30-year high as wages declines due to inflation
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released a study on Monday that included more than 2,700 UK adults and showed that 51% of them were concerned about staying warm in their homes this winter.

About 60% of those surveyed between January 25 and February 5 admitted to using less gas or electricity at home to manage rising food, fuel, and energy costs.

Andi Hofbauer of St Aidan’s FoodShare in Leeds remarked, “We hear horrible stories of individuals living in freezing flats using their entire energy budget to keep the fridge operating.”

A separate ONS poll conducted between September and January of almost 18,500 UK adults revealed that 34% of people aged 25 to 34 reported using credit or borrowing more money than usual compared to a year earlier.

Additionally, more than half of individuals who rent an apartment indicated they would not be able to pay £850 ($1,000) for an unforeseen but required expense.

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