Poverty in the UK

The UK is the seventh richest country in the world, but many people today are struggling to put food on the table.

Oxfam believes that everyone should have enough income to feed themselves and their families with dignity, without relying on charity. That's why we're working with the Trussell Trust, activist and blogger Jack Monroe and Church Action on Poverty to highlight and tackle the causes of hunger in the UK.

If you'd like to give your opinion on the issue or get involved, please send an email to foodpoverty@oxfam.org.uk.

Snapshot of Oxfam in the UK

Putting food on the table

1 in 6 parents have gone without food so they could put food on the table for their families.

Depending on food parcels

There are over 500,000 people in the UK reliant on food parcels.

The issue

One in five people in the UK are living in poverty - and government spending cuts, along with the rising cost of living, are hitting those at the bottom hardest.

Over a third of the population now say that they are just one large heating bill or one broken washing machine away from hardship. Many are finding it difficult to heat their homes or buy essential clothing. Most shockingly, the number of people in the UK that are going hungry is growing.

Sir Michael Marmot, a health inequality expert at University College London says that this has a huge impact on health, social mobility and even life chances: "In the most deprived part of the Westminster, life expectancy for men is 17 years shorter than in the richest part of the borough. That's how big the health inequalities are in the UK," he says.

What are we doing?

Oxfam believes everyone in the UK - the seventh richest country in the world - should have enough to eat. This is why we are working with the Trussell Trust foodbank network, who has helped 500,000 people with emergency food parcels since April 2013, and with FareShare, who collect surplus food from the food industry and distribute it community groups, homeless shelters and local cafés.

We are also working with schools, a foodbank and a city farm in Tower Hamlets to improve access for children and their families to fresh and healthy food.

But we also believe foodbanks aren't a solution. This is why we are campaigning with the Trussell Trust, Church Action on Poverty and Jack Monroe to call on the government to tackle the causes of food poverty now.

Video: Food banks usage has risen sharply in the UK

You may also be interested in:

New briefing paper

Walking the Breadline - the scandal of food poverty in 21st century Britain

UK Poverty blog

Read the Oxfam Campaigns blog for debate and analysis.

UK Poverty Programme

Oxfam's work in the UKFind out more about Oxfam's work in the UK 

Other issues we work on