ALMOST one in five people in the North West borrowed money for food last month, a new report has revealed.

The Debt Advisory Centre said there had been a three-fold rise in those taking on debt to feed themselves and their families since summer.

The national figures showed 9.4 million borrowed cash in February compared to just three million in July.

Eve Gattei, who runs Oswaldtwistle Foodbank, advised anyone considering borrowing money to pay for food to first see if they are eligible for food vouchers.

She said: “I’m not surprised by this at all. Wages are staying the same but food prices are going up. We have various leaflets here which advise about getting help with debt problems, but how do people get food if they can’t afford it?”

Borrowing money to cover food shopping was most common in London, where 26 per cent of respondents revealed they had done so, but the North West was not far behind with 18 per cent.

The data showed that borrowing cash to pay for food was most common among young people, as it was eight months ago. However, while 18 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds said they had done this last July, this climbed to 34 per cent last month.

The percentage of 25 to 34-year-olds who said they borrowed to pay the grocery bill doubled from 11 per cent to 23 per cent over the same period, and the proportion of 35 to 44-year-olds increased more than three-fold, from six per cent to 22 per cent.

Ian Williams, of the Debt Advisory Centre, said: “It’s very worrying that people have to borrow to pay for food at all, but the fact this figure is rising so sharply is a real cause for concern.

The Lancashire Telegraph has a ‘Back our Foodbank’ campaign to encourage readers to give food donations.