More than half of people who suffered from a long-term illness or disability in 2016 suffered food insecurity, according research which has prompted renewed concerns about a “hunger crisis” in the UK.

The problem, which arises when people cannot afford to buy enough to eat, has almost doubled among the least well off in the last five years, according to the study, published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ). 

An analysis of survey data, originally published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, showed the rise was even steeper among those living with a longstanding illness or disability – with 53.5 per cent of this group experiencing food insecurity in 2016.

The study, which compared data from that year’s Food & You Survey (F&Y) with data from the 2004 Low Income Diet and Nutrition Survey (LIDNS), found that some people were going whole days without eating.

Veronica Woods, 52, who suffers from functional neurological disorder (FND), said she often has to skip meals in order to make sure her children could eat after the government stopped issuing her Personal Independent Payment (PIP) last year.