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Food bank users REFUSE potatoes as cost of energy for cooking soars 


FOOD bank users are refusing potatoes because soaring energy prices mean they are too expensive to cook, the boss of supermarket chain Iceland has warned.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak cut fuel duty and softened some of a looming National Insurance increase in his Spring Statement on Wednesday. But Government forecasters have said Britons face the biggest hit to their living standards since records began in the 1950s - even after Mr Sunak's measures.

Iceland Managing Director Richard Walker, speaking before Mr Sunak appeared in the House of Commons, said: "It's incredibly concerning. We're hearing of some food bank users declining potatoes and root veg because they can't afford the energy to boil them."

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, has accused the Chancellor of failing to create any security for people on the lowest incomes.

She said that failing to bring benefit payments in line with the true cost of living had created a real-terms cut to social security payments.

Ms Revie told Sky News: "People are already making impossible decisions between heating and eating, and we know people are skipping meals, unable to afford to run cookers and fridges and taking on debt to buy the essentials.

"This is not right. This decision will mean many more people will have no option but to use a food bank."

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicted inflation will now average 7.4 percent this year and peak at 8.7 percent in the fourth quarter.

This would represent the highest level since the oil shock of the late 1970s and early 1980s.