Desperate families are being forced to steal baby formula because of rapidly rising prices, the government has been told.
Inflation in the UK has hit the highest levels recorded in decades, with prices rising by 9.1% in the year to May 2022.
Speaking in the House of Commons, SNP MP Alison Thewliss claimed families are now resorting to stealing baby formula so that they can feed their children.
Thewliss said: “One of the most worrying increases in food prices is for infant formula, some of which is now so expensive it is security tagged and kept behind the till because families have resorted to stealing it.
“What is the government doing to make sure that infant formula is available to families who need it? Because at this price many cannot afford it at all.”
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Cabinet office minister Kit Malthouse say that the government were “monitoring prices very closely”, highlighting further government support for those on benefits.
He added: “We have put something like £37bn now into the system to assist families but we constantly keep these things under review and will act if needed.”
In response to the cost-of-living crisis, the government is giving a £650 to struggling families in receipt of certain means-tested benefits.
The first payment of £326 is being given out on Thursday, with the second payment of £324 scheduled for the autumn.
Speaking after the debate in parliament, Thewliss criticised the government's response to her concerns.
She said: “The increasing cost of infant formula is a real issue for many families right now – it’s an essential that they simply cannot cut back on.
“The response from Kit Malthouse lacks urgency. The UK government must act now to ensure families who need infant formula can afford to access it.
“A good start would be increasing the money available to families, as Scotland has done through the Scottish child payment, and scrapping the two-child limit in universal credit, which now affects 359,000 households and 1.3 million children.”
Concerns have been raised that the government's cost of living support may not be sufficient after analysts predicted another steep rise in energy costs this winter.
According to Cornwall Insights, the energy price cap could soar to £3,200 next time it is reviewed, a significant increase compared to previous forecasts.