People in Wales, U.K. are ‘eating pet food’ because they can’t afford real food anymore


By Liam Coleman, Metro UK

4th December 2022 – (Cardiff) People are having to eat pet food while others try to heat food on a radiator, according to a community worker.

Poverty has hit parts of Wales so hard that people are having to go to the lowest levels just feed their families.

It comes after new Census data suggests six of Wales’ most deprived communities are in Cardiff.

Last month the cost of food rose again – with shop prices of groceries over 12% higher than last November.

The scary figure – the highest rate of food inflation since British Retail Consortium (BRC) records began in 2005 – is part of rising prices across the board, with a 7.6% rise in all prices.

Prices have been rising across the board over recent months, putting general inflation at the highest rate in 45 years.

Mark Seed – who runs a community food project in Trowbridge, east Cardiff told the BBC that struggling households do not just appear in areas long associated with poverty and policy needs to focus on people not places.

Parcels of food are helping families eat this Christmas (Picture: Joseph Walshe SWNS)

Trowbridge lies in what Mr Seed calls an ‘arc of poverty’ from east to west of the Welsh capital, with issues endemic in his area.

He told the BBC: ‘I’m still shocked by the fact that we have people who are eating pet food.

‘[There are] people who are trying to heat their food on a radiator or a candle.

‘These are shocking kind of stories that are actually the truth.’

‘Cardiff is a flourishing city however there are pockets of deprivation which are simply not acceptable.’

Mr Seed said people were not being paid enough to afford the essentials, with the cost of living crisis pushing prices way up ‘so that everybody is squeezed or they just can’t afford it’.

‘What they are telling us is that they are working every hour they can,’ he added.

The latest Census results suggest that as a whole, Wales has seen an improvement in deprivation in the last 10 years.

But more than half of households (54.1%) still fall into one of the categories used to measure it, either through being out of a job or long term sick, having poor health or a disability, low level of education or living in an overcrowded or poorly heated home.

When you look closer into Census figures for local neighbourhoods, you can see those places with most households falling into all four categories.

They are dominated by urban communities – with six of the top 10 in Wales in Cardiff.

The list is topped by Mr Seed’s community – Trowbridge and a part of Rumney in the north of the city – with 29 households there classed as deprived in all four categories.

This puts it within the worst 1% of more than 7,000 similar-sized communities across England and Wales.

Mr Seed added: ‘People who are in those positions of poverty would be the first to tell you that it’s not easy to have a voice, it’s not easy to have your dignity and show yourself as someone who counts and unless you do that no-one is going to listen.’

‘Buildings go up, the economy flourishes and firms move here – but there’s a gap and we’re trying to close it.’