Credit crunch has hit the poorest families with one in five of Brits going without a meal during the past 12 months alone. This figure soars to one in eight for those on low incomes, according to a recent study by Barclay’s and children’s charity NCH.

The poll revealed that 16% of those on the tightest budgets admit to missing a meal so that their family members have food on the table. Over half (57%) of families on low incomes admitted that there were finding it a struggle to feed their family in comparison to the same time time last year.

To avoid getting into further unaffordable debt during the credit crunch, 19% have gone without any heating in order to make up for the shortfall in their income.

Chief executive of NCH, Clare Tickell, said: “There’s no doubt that everyone is feeling the pinch at the moment and that those on the lowest incomes are suffering the most.” Their survey was in response to a new scheme which calls for families to take a tighter control over their finances so that they do not find themselves with unnecessary debt problems in the future.

The NCH advise in setting a food budget in help control your debt levels when it comes to supermarket spending and that money is not wasted on food that is never consumed. More than half of the 1,000 polled said that they feel guilty about the amount of food that they throw away but do not set a food budget to control their spending or take a list when they go shopping.