New analysis from Sunderland Labour has revealed more than 55,000 across the city are missing meals as a direct impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

The research, by Kantar and More In Common, revealed the staggering figure, with research also showing that 141,000 residents are being forced to cut down on electricity or heating and 22,000 forced to use a foodbank.

Publishing the analysis, Sunderland Labour Leader, Cllr Graeme Miller, said: “It is absolutely disgusting that in this day and age, in the fifth richest country in the world, we are in a position where we have millions of people being forced to choose this Winter between eating and heating.

“Just this week [2 Nov], we had the Trade Minister Kemi Badenoch giving a speech in Gateshead around how the Government remains committed to ‘Levelling up’ and feeding us the same empty promises they have done for the past 12 years, while year after year, more and more people are falling into poverty and struggling to even feed themselves.

“The utter contempt they show for the people of working-class areas such as the North East is astounding, however it’s hardly surprising when the Prime Minister himself is going around bragging about his track record of taking money from working class areas with one hand and distributing it to the South East with the other. It really is a sad state of affairs.”

In the wider North East, over half a million people are skipping meals as they try and mitigate the impact of the cost-of-living crisis, with 1.3 million cutting down on heating and electrical usage and more than 214,000 relying on foodbanks.

Cllr Claire Rowntree, deputy leader of Sunderland Labour Group, added: “From 2006 to 2020, the average household in the South East of England saw income rise by 43%, whereas the average North East household saw their income fall by 17% during the exact same period. It’s hardly a coincidence.

“Across the North of England, towns and cities have been forced to fight tooth and nail to continue providing core services amid crippling budget cuts over the past 12 years and the research by Kantar shows just how much of an impact this has had on our communities.

“If this Government is serious about Levelling Up, then they really have an odd way of showing it, given the last 12 years under their leadership has only seen the gap between the North and the South widen with every passing year.”