'Cash-strapped British families having to choose between food and basic personal hygiene'

Britons are reportedly being forced to choose between food and toiletries (Picture: REX Features)

A new report has claimed that families across the UK are being hit by ‘hygiene poverty’, where they are unable to afford a wide selection of essential sanitary products and personal care items.

The report, which has been commissioned by charity In Kind Direct, claims that some families are facing a harsh dilemma where they are forced to choose between buying food or personal hygiene items such as toothpaste, tampons, razors, deodorants and nappies.

Specifically, it claims that that some 37 percent of the nation have had to go without hygiene or grooming essentials, or cut down on them.

The figure is even higher among the youth – with some 56 percent of 18 to 24 year olds being affected.

It is also claimed that those living in London see the biggest chunk of their salary used on grooming products – with £113.60 being spent every year.

Nappies are among the items that families are having to choose between (Picture: REX Features)

Rucksana Begum, 32, is one of the recipients of In Kind Direct products from her local charity in Tyneside.

She said: ‘“I’m a new mum, not working, so I struggle to pay household bills. Not having to worry about buying sanitary towels, shaving gel and products, which I wouldn’t be able to afford, is a big help. I feel better about myself and it helps my mental wellbeing. Nice products make me want to look after myself, so I really appreciate them.’

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Robin Boles, the Chief Executive of In Kind Direct, added: ‘We are seeing an increase in ‘hygiene poverty’ – people being forced to choose between eating and keeping clean. This is hitting families hard. The fact that last year was In Kind Direct’s busiest year ever distributing products to charities and the people they help, highlights the stark choices people are facing. Our survey shows the significant impact this has on self-esteem.

‘With 75% of people who are given products telling us receiving these goods boosted their confidence and ability to move forward in life, having access to life’s essentials really does make a world of difference.’