Responding to new monthly inflation figures showing CPI at 10.1%, JRF senior economist Rachelle Earwaker, said:
“This is the seventh consecutive month with inflation over 10% - bringing no relief and growing anxiety to families facing hardship.
“Food prices alone have risen by an astonishing 19.1% in the year to March - another new high and the highest rate in over 45 years. The cost of food risks perpetuating this crisis long into the future, as families are increasingly unable to provide what they know they need to be healthy - regular, nutritious, cooked meals.
“With the nation's health under strain, it is a moral outrage that fresh food is increasingly out of reach for people already in danger of leading shorter, less healthy lives.
“The cost of essential items is causing a daily struggle for millions, especially those who had the least before this crisis began. Nine in ten families on Universal Credit have been unable to afford the essentials this winter and the consequences of this will be felt today, tomorrow and well into the future.
“The times we are living through should stop us in our tracks. Short term support through this crisis can only do so much to mitigate the risk to our whole country of allowing these problems to spiral. A much more fundamental shift is needed or the gap will only get wider between those who can get by and those who are struggling every day to put food on the table or have a secure home."
JRF and Trussell Trust were today joined by 90 charities in calling on party leaders to respond to growing hardship by committing to back the Essentials Guarantee. This means ensuring that the basic rate of Universal Credit at least covers the cost of life's essentials, with support never being pulled below that level.