The New Futures Project

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Rising food prices pile more pressure on the women we support

The rising cost of everyday foods and other essentials is continuing to place unbearable pressure on many of the women who turn to the New Futures Project for support and we believe the picture is likely to grow worse as the year goes on.

The prices of basics such as cheese, butter, bread, vegetables and meat have risen by as much as 30% in the past two years alone, according to a report in the Guardian today.

Although food price inflation has reportedly slowed in the past few months, the situation continues to place many of the women we see under intolerable difficulty.

Research by consumer group Which? shared with the Guardian showed the food products which have risen by the greatest margins are milk, (36.4%), cheese (35.2%), butters and spreads (32.2%), cakes and cookies (31.2%), and bakery items (30.3%), the Guardian reported.

Meanwhile, vegetable prices are up 19.1% since May-July 2021, meat prices are up 23.6% and savoury pies and pastries and quiches are up 26.2%. Biscuit prices have increased by 27% and juice drinks and smoothies are up 28.6%, it said.

New Futures director Della Cavner said: “We have been aware of this problem for a while and many of the women that we support are making difficult choices about who in the family is able to eat and whether or not they are able to heat the house. 

“As the year progresses into winter this is only going to get worse, and we are truly concerned about how some of the more vulnerable people that we support will manage. 

“We would welcome donations of toiletries, tinned goods and period products which we can pass on to the clients.”

Richard Lane, director of external affairs at debt charity StepChange, told the Guardian: “These rises are hitting the poorest the hardest, as it creates a poverty premium where those on tighter budgets are unable to save by buying in bulk and end up spending more money on food and essentials, as they shop little and often.

“As food costs continue to rise, the knock-on effects can be felt elsewhere, with people having to make desperate choices between keeping up their bills or putting food on the table.”

Helen Barnard, director of policy, research and impact at the Trussell Trust, which operates a network of food banks, also spoke to the Guardian about the pricing crisis.

She said: “Inflation is hitting those on the lowest incomes hardest, with the cost of essentials like food and energy – which account for far more of their budget than is the case for people on higher incomes – rising especially steeply.”

Which? Is urging major retailers to stock affordable and healthy basic food ranges available across all their stores.

Sue Davies, head of food policy at Which?, said: “Despite well-advertised price cuts, Which?’s tracker shows that the cost of essentials like milk and butter is still very high and piling huge pressure on millions, which is why access to budget ranges is more important than ever to help people save money.”

New Futures was set up more than 20 years ago to support women involved in sex work.

However, we have evolved into a welfare and counselling service for women and young people dealing with sexual abuse or exploitation – frequently involving domestic violence, trafficking, poverty and debt, substance use or mental ill-health.

Call us on 0116 251 0803 or send us a message at:

You can find us at 71 London Road, Leicester, LE2 0PE.

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