Some families are resorting to stealing baby formula because of high prices says SNP MP

Some families are resorting to stealing baby formula because of high prices, ministers have been warned.

SNP MP Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central) told the Commons: “One of the most worrying increases in food prices is for infant formula, some of which is now so expensive it is security tagged and kept behind the till because families have resorted to stealing it.

“What is the Government doing to make sure that infant formula is available to families who need it? Because at this price many cannot afford it at all.”

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Cabinet Office minister Kit Malthouse replied: “Obviously we are monitoring all prices, particularly in vital areas like formula, very closely and I know she will welcome therefore the support that is going to eight million houses on means-tested benefits starting from today, with another instalment in the future coming this autumn on top of the assistance that has already been given.

SNP MP Alison ThewlissSNP MP Alison Thewliss
SNP MP Alison Thewliss

“We have put something like £37 billion now into the system to assist families but we constantly keep these things under review and will act if needed.”

It comes as Citizens Advice Scotland said the UK Government should pause benefits sanctions until the cost-of-living crisis has been resolved.

Advice from the charity on sanctions to Universal Credit rose by 53 per cent in 2021-22, research published on Thursday said.

With inflation rising and impacting on the cost of goods, Citizens Advice said a pause on sanctions – as was seen in the early days of the pandemic – would help people “keep their heads above water”.

“People cannot afford to lose their income for the length of a sanction and the stress of managing during the cost-of-living crisis is only compounded by the fear that a disconnected phone or a lack of bus money might lead to a dramatic loss of income,” the report said.

“Suspending the use of sanctions would give people the peace of mind to keep their heads above water.”

David Scott, the social justice spokesman at Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “Everybody is feeling the squeeze at the moment, with high fuel bills and other inflationary costs, while incomes stagnate.

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“But those who rely on support from Universal Credit are amongst the most vulnerable, and that’s why we wanted to focus on them in this report.”

She added: “With food prices still rising and the energy price cap set to increase again in October, the cost-of-living crisis will be with us for many more months.

“But for those who fall into debt and hardship during this time, the effect can be much more long-lasting.

“Low social security payments place people at risk of housing arrears and the devastating effects of homelessness, not to mention the health impacts of starvation, poor or insufficient diets, and cold, unheated homes.

“The marks of that hardship can hold people back for years.

“We need to see investment in social security, to reach adequate levels to support people in need and offer them the chance to live with dignity. This report shows that the current system is failing to do that.”



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