Prabdheep Singh is on his fourth day without food. It’s searingly hot, and he is surviving on huge bottles of water and the support of his family. Despite having already lost 5kg, he is unwaveringly positive. He is on a hunger strike – a desperate call to the government to act as the cost of living crisis spirals.
“If we don’t fight back,” Singh says, “or if the politicians don’t tackle the situation, we’re going to have to train ourselves to skip meals. We’ll be having to survive on a meal a day, or a meal every alternate day. This is a symbolic approach. It’s not about gaining empathy or sympathy. It’s to show the people that this will be our future if we don’t fight.”
Millions of people across the country have no choice but to go hungry. The most recent study by the Food Foundation revealed 2.4 million adults in the UK went a whole day without eating in April.
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Food is often the first essential cut when money gets tight, and many are facing unprecedented pressures with the soaring costs of energy bills. In their masses, people have shared harrowing experiences of going hungry and being unable to pay their bills.
Singh was particularly riled by the story of Elsie, a 77-year-old who can only afford a meal a day. Elsie became a symbol of the cost of living crisis early in May, when she told Good Morning Britain she spent her days riding warm buses so she doesn’t have to pay to heat her home.
Elsie is agonisingly far from alone, and Singh felt he could no longer sit and watch people suffer. He had to take action. The British army veteran, who now works as a cab driver, is spending each day and night of his week-long hunger strike camping outside Reading station.