A poll commissioned by charity the Salvation Army has shown that around two thirds of adults are worried they will be unable to afford Christmas dinner this year. The poll, carried out by Savanta Comres, registered the responses of 2,149 adults.
The survey found that 67 per cent of people who responded were worried about being able to afford Christmas dinner. The charity worked out the price of a Christmas dinner at around £7.50.
Another statistic from the survey showed that this number rose to 81 per cent of people aged 65 years and over. Nearly one in five people (18 per cent) also said they expect to spend time over Christmas in a building that is free to visit so they can keep warm.
John, a 64-year-old grandfather from Middlesbrough who does voluntary work, said: “I usually go to relatives for Christmas dinner, but they can’t afford to have me this year so I will stay at home. I am going to treat it like a normal day and have sandwiches for lunch as I’m worried it will cost too much to buy the food and cook it. It is going to be a terrible Christmas for me.”
The Salvation Army’s Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant said: “Christmas should be the season of joy, not sorrow. If so many people are worried they can’t even afford one of the most important meals of the year, it’s a red flag that poverty is creeping further into our communities.
“Salvation Army Officers across the country report an unprecedented level of need since the cost of living hit and our food banks have been stretched to the limit. Our officers are also seeing people who used to donate food, now queuing for food parcels.
“The Government’s decision to increase benefits in line with inflation lessens the pain of rising costs on the poorest households. However, the measures announced in the Autumn Statement shows that while the state is trying to help, its ability to stop the creep of poverty has been dangerously reduced due to rising inflation and the overall bleak economic outlook.”
He added: “We expect this Christmas to be one of our busiest ever and are providing as many emergency food parcels as possible for those in urgent need and Christmas dinner for isolated older people. And our Present Appeal is giving gifts to children who would otherwise have nothing to open on Christmas Day.
“We also offer a warm space in many of our buildings to people who can’t afford to heat their homes and will support rough sleepers, so they aren’t forced to spend a cold Christmas on the streets. Our officers and volunteers will be on the frontline helping the most vulnerable survive the next few months and have a happy and peaceful Christmas.”