Struggling UK families are spending their evenings at McDonald’s to cut energy costs, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.
They do so amid the highest inflation rate in 40 years.
These families reportedly turn to places like McDonalds for free wi-fi, heat, and less-expensive food.
“People are buying their kids a Happy Meal for a few quid and keeping them warm inside. Then they wash and brush their teeth in the sinks and watch television for hours on the free wifi,” Matthew Cole of the Fuel Bank Foundation said, as quoted by The Guardian.
Jo Gilbert, the CEO of energy-focused advice charity Cubes, told the newspaper that “in reality, we’re way past using energy-saving tricks at home to limit bills significantly. People need government help now.”
An Ipsos UK survey published by Sky News on Tuesday indicated that 65% of Britons have refrained from turning on their heat in an effort to save money, and that one in four have even skipped meals.
The recent surge that brought consumer prices to their current 40-year high was driven by rising energy bills. The energy price cap for a typical British family rose by £693 (about $860) in April, a 54% increase.
According to analysis by the Resolution Foundation, a British think tank focused on improving living standards for low-to-middle income people, inflation is 10.2% for the poorest 10th of British households, significantly higher than the 8.7% seen by the top 10%.
“Inflationary pressures are likely to continue to grow through the year as the effects of higher energy prices continue to work their way through businesses and into consumers’ pockets,” Jack Leslie, a senior economist with the organization, warned on Wednesday.
“One thing is certain – the government must provide further targeted support for those lower income families at the sharp end of this crisis,” he added.
More than three in four Britons agree with him. The aforementioned Ipsos UK survey showed that 76% of respondents agree that the government isn’t providing enough support to families harmed by rising costs.
The UK’s inflation was driven by the Covid pandemic, the ongoing Ukraine conflict, and unprecedented sanctions on Russia. The measures appear to have backfired on some of the countries that imposed the embargoes, resulting in skyrocketing prices for food, energy, and other consumer goods.