A fifth of parents in Scotland are feeding family members before themselves due to the cost-of-living crisis, research has found.
The survey for Which? found 22% of parents in the Scottish survey are prioritising feeding other family members over feeding themselves, compared with 8% of the population overall.
Around one in 10 respondents (11%) said they are skipping meals due to rising food costs.
The survey carried out by Yonder questioned more than 1,000 consumers in Scotland to understand the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.
One 55-year-old woman told the researchers: “We are having to skip meals, not have the heating on and not going out due to fuel costs”.
The new information also found that nearly eight in 10 consumers have been putting the heating on less due to the increase in energy prices.
Almost nine in 10 consumers said they were worried about energy prices (89%), while concern around food and housing costs have increased sharply compared with the previous year.
The proportion of people worried about food prices increased by 10 percentage points to almost nine in 10 (87%) in December 2022, compared 77% in 2021 and 63% in 2020.
Which? has estimated that if consumers tried to maintain the same spending habits they would need to spend an additional £40 per week – or around £2,080 a year – on food, energy and fuel in December 2022 compared with December 2021.
That would mean almost a third of their household expenditure would be spent on just these essential goods.
As a result of this, many households have had to make changes to cover essential spending, with many people cutting back on essentials, which increased to 39% from 25% in 2021.
The financial pressures being faced by people are now causing emotional harm, the study found, with some respondents being made anxious and suffering sleepless nights.
A 34-year-old woman who took part in the study said: “I’m severely depressed and worried all the time about being able to pay my bills and have enough money to feed and clothe my kids as well as electricity and gas to heat my home. It’s having a massive effect on my mental health, I feel anxious and stressed out all the time.”
Nearly half of consumers in Scotland said that concerns around the cost of living have left them feeling anxious and 22% said they were struggling to sleep due to worries about the cost of living.
Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “It’s hugely concerning that people in Scotland are losing sleep, skipping meals and sitting in the cold due to rising prices.
“As the cost-of-living crisis puts huge pressure on household finances, we are calling on businesses in essential sectors like food, energy and broadband providers to do more to help customers get a good deal and avoid unnecessary or unfair costs and charges during this crisis.”
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