The number of people who can’t afford food continues to rise, warns the Swedish City Mission. The organization suggests that the government investigates the growing poverty in Sweden.
More and more people in Sweden need help putting food on the table, warns the City Mission in this year’s edition of the Poverty Report. 72% of the organization’s efforts are related to food, an increase from 2014-2016 when it was 64%.
– We haven’t had to work this much on emergency measures since the 90s, says Secretary-General Jonas Wihlstrand, to TT.
Last year’s poverty report already showed a significant increase in people seeking help from the organization’s food centers across the country. In Gothenburg, the City Mission, along with other groups, initiated a petition against food poverty earlier this year to get politicians to react.
The largest group turning to the City Mission consists of people with long-term income support.
– Income support increased by 8%. But food prices have risen by 20%. These groups don’t buy non-essential items, which are included when calculating inflation. They only buy food, he says.
“People used to be ashamed”
Martin Östergren, 59, has been living on activity support from the Social Insurance Agency for some time after being diagnosed with a heart condition. To make ends meet, he often eats cheap sausages, frozen vegetables, or chicken nuggets for lunch. For dinner, to consume something healthier, he usually eats tuna and two boiled eggs.
He can’t recall the last time he ate meat and believes that, along with fresh vegetables, it has become a matter of social class.
– People used to be ashamed to look in the ‘cheap corner’. But now the mindset has changed. There’s no longer any shame because so many are in the same situation, as food has become very expensive, says Östergren.
– Meat, I can’t remember the last time I had it; it’s become so expensive, as have fresh vegetables. Meat and fresh vegetables have become a class issue.
The City Mission proposes that the government should initiate an investigation to map the new, growing poverty in Sweden. Furthermore, the organization believes that targeted state grants should be decided for economically vulnerable areas, ensuring children always have access to both breakfast and lunch, even during holidays.
The Poverty Report is produced by the City Mission in collaboration with researchers at Marie Cederschiöld’s University since 2014.