One in seven people have skipped meals due to the rising cost of living, according to a survey.
Almost one in 10 (9%) have prioritised meals for other family members above themselves and 4% have used a food bank, the Which? consumer insight tracker found.
Some seven in 10 (72%) have turned the heating on less due to rising prices, 39% are using less hot water, and 19% are having fewer cooked meals.
The survey also found that an estimated 2.3 million households had missed or defaulted on a vital payment such as a mortgage, rent, credit card or bill payment in the last month – in line with the number who missed payments in January.
Some 59% have made at least one financial adjustment such as cutting back on essentials, selling items or dipping into savings in the last month to cover essential spending, equating to an estimated 16.5 million households.
The figure is up from the 52% making financial adjustments this time last year but down on the peak of 65% in September.
Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “It’s hugely worrying that households across the country are forced to go hungry and sit in cold homes as they cannot afford basic essentials this winter.
“Which? is calling on the Government and essential businesses to do more to support their customers through this extraordinary cost-of-living crisis.
“With energy bills due to rise in April, the Government must urgently consider postponing its decision to increase the energy price guarantee to £3,000.
“For some families, who continue to be battered by high inflation, this will offer an important lifeline to stop them falling into financial distress.”
– Yonder surveys approximately 2,000 respondents online for the monthly Which? Consumer Insight Tracker.