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east london mosque food packs islamic relief uk

Tackling poverty in the UK

We are currently seeing unprecedented levels of poverty and destitution across the UK. 

Communities that have been slowly impoverished by over a decade of austerity, followed by two years of the pandemic, are now being hit by a spiralling cost of living crisis that is seriously impacting households’ economic resilience and exposing increasing numbers of people in the UK to destitution. 

1 in 5

people in the UK are now living in poverty 

1 in 3

children are living in homes without adequate access to food, affecting 4 million children 

In 2022

the number of adults experiencing food insecurity has doubled in 2022 

While the increasing cost of living is impacting all households, it is having a disproportionate impact on the poorest households, who are at breaking point. Even before the pandemic over 50% of Muslims were living in poverty, compared to 18% for the general population. 


of Muslims are living in the most deprived areas of England and Wales 

1 in 5

Muslims have used a food bank since August 2021 

1 in 3

Muslims reported missing meals


of Muslims noted some difficulty paying their energy bills


had taken on some form of debt in the past year to cover basic expenses 

*Statistics taken from Muslim Census

As food and energy prices continue to rise, families are experiencing the biggest squeeze on their incomes in living memory, and things will only get worse. For families already struggling to afford the essentials, the current cost of living crisis goes much deeper, and is yet more proof of the inability of the UK’s welfare system to provide people with a sufficient income so that they can afford life’s essentials. 

What is Islamic Relief doing?

We are working across the UK to support families and communities with food aid through food banks and community kitchens, as well as providing targeted hardship grants to those on the lowest incomes. 

In 2022 we distributed over 16,400 food packs, supporting 79,412 people, but food aid is not an effective or dignified way to help people who are struggling to make ends meet because they do not have a sufficient or reliable income.  

What are we calling for?

We believe that people have a right to an income that will cover their essential needs and allow them to live dignified lives. In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, people should not be struggling to feed, clothe and keep themselves warm. 

We will continue to respond to the increasing needs here in the UK and support the most vulnerable through our programmes but are also calling on the government to undertake a fundamental review of the UK’s social security system to ensure benefits provide people with an adequate income that is able to cover their essential needs. 

To immediately ease the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis, we are also calling on the UK government to:  

  1. Bring back the £20 uplift in Universal Credit and make it permanent  
  2. Temporarily pause debt deductions from benefits, as was done during the pandemic, to help with rising food prices, energy bills and other debt  

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