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May 5, 2013 6:37 AM   Subscribe

Which? poll says many 'borrowing money for food' - "One in five UK households borrowed money or used savings to cover food costs in April, a Which? survey says. It suggests the equivalent of five million households used credit cards, overdrafts or savings to buy food." [BBC]
posted by marienbad (11 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Using a credit card to buy food is not necessarily borrowing money. The poll was flawed if that was the question without any additional context.
posted by goo at 6:51 AM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Related: a piece by Gillian Tett at the FT, The cost of hand-to-mouth living. While she's writing about the US and the fact that Walmart and Krogers have noticed an uptick in the 'pay check cycle' of spending, it is just as applicable to the UK - perhaps increasingly so given the introduction of Universal Credit and its monthly payment.

On a broader level, it's tragic that poorer people have been scrambling to cope with a series of chaotic short-term cycles when one would hope that with all the resources we have, we could provide a bit more stability than that. As Tett says:
The second reason I find this trend intriguing – if not tragic – is what it reveals about our attitude towards time. During most of the past century, it has often seemed as if a hallmark of modern “progress” is that our planning horizons, as a society, have expanded. Unlike peasants or herdsmen in the pre-modern age, who lacked the ability to measure the passage of time or calculate future risks with precision, 20th-century man appeared to have so much control over the environment that it was possible – and desirable – to take a long-term view. No longer were people destined to scramble in a reactive manner; they could plan ahead, mastering time. The fact that people were no longer foraging for food each day, but were able to visit a supermarket proactively at pre-planned intervals, was a good metaphor for a much bigger social and cognitive shift.
posted by adrianhon at 6:54 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I agree. Many people use credit cards for the "bonus point" they receive.
posted by AllChildrenMatter at 6:54 AM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The name of the poll seems specifically intended for Who's On First?-style wacky confusion.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:59 AM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


The name of the poll seems specifically intended for Who's On First?-style wacky confusion.

Welcome to the world of branding in the UK. I often think these people are collecting all the urine.
posted by srboisvert at 8:19 AM on May 5, 2013


Among the group who used savings or credit to pay for food:

Eight out of 10 (82%) worried about food prices
More than half (55%) said they were likely to cut back on food spending in the next few months
Nearly six out of 10 (57%) said they found it difficult to cope on their current income
A third (32%) borrowed money from friends and family in April


This is the additional context.
posted by l2p at 9:27 AM on May 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Imagine that. People struggling to buy food while the super-duper-wealthy had another banner year.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:35 AM on May 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Related: a piece by Gillian Tett at the FT, The cost of hand-to-mouth living. While she's writing about the US and the fact that Walmart and Krogers have noticed an uptick in the 'pay check cycle' of spending, it is just as applicable to the UK - perhaps increasingly so given the introduction of Universal Credit and its monthly payment

In the course of the Margaret Thatcher thread, I came across this report on the so-called poverty premium, where you have added costs because you're poor.
posted by hoyland at 12:56 PM on May 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


The name of the poll seems specifically intended for Who's On First?-style wacky confusion.

Aside from being annoying, the Which? implies that the name/brand is more important than the poll's subject. Which, in this case, it clearly is not. It undercuts their credibility.
posted by R. Mutt at 1:42 PM on May 5, 2013


This is the additional context

Well, sure - but if the question is "have you used a credit card to purchase food?" then there are going to be a lot of affirmative answers that don't necessarily fit the context. Of course, the Which? site doesn't give the actual questions, so we won't know.

That being said, my own experiences mesh with the findings. I recently had to find a better-paying job after eight years with a local authority, as for the last four of those years we didn't even get a cost of living increase (and they won't until 2015) and prices for everything just keep going up and up and up. I want my daughter to have a good life without having to worry too much about bills, and I was lucky enough to be able to move to a better job. I think a lot more people are going to be feeling it if the government goes ahead with the cuts to tax credits they've been floating, particularly in London.
posted by goo at 2:29 PM on May 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The name of the poll seems specifically intended for Who's On First?-style wacky confusion.

Which? has been published in the UK since 1957. It's probably at least as well known there as Consumer Reports is here.

hoyland, that report is excellent -- thanks for posting it. The general impression over here, thanks to the constant drumming of FOX and the GOP, is that poverty is a free ride. Hey, you get an Obamaphone! What's not to like?
posted by dhartung at 5:50 PM on May 5, 2013


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