Skint Britons are turning to shoplifting with some even ‘addicted’ to the ‘high’

Britons grappling with the raised cost of living are getting addicted to a shoplifting “high”, according to addiction experts. Hundreds of people have turned to stealing to feed their families as a result of higher prices at the shops.

Staff at the UK Addiction Treatment Centres have seen a steep rise in people looking for help with shoplifting addiction, The Sun reports.

The organisation, which specialises in care and treatment for people with addictive disorders, has averaged about 30 calls a week so far this year compared with only 10 per month in 2022.

Head of Treatment, Nuno Albuquerque, said: “Shoplifting addiction gives the thief the same ‘rush’ or ‘high’ that a person using drugs or alcohol would get.

“For most, the feeling only lasts a short time.”

Charities and community groups struggling to deal with increased demands from society’s most vulnerable learned this week that they are to get a share of a £100million support package announced in the Budget.

The money is likely to go to organisations in England which provide vital emergency support such as accommodation, food and heating.

Around three-quarters of the funding will be used to deliver grants in the next year and comes as charities try to cope with the increased cost of living pressures, rising demand for their services and reduced donations.

Many of the organisations which could benefit played a vital role in supporting people during the pandemic and have been called on again to help communities as household budgets have been squeezed.

Charities Aid Foundation’s Chief Executive Neil Heslop welcomed the move because “half of all charities say they are currently worried about their future”, especially as the extra Government support for energy bills tapers off for many this month.

Mr Heslop said: “Charities around the country continue to face rising costs, higher demand for their help and falling donations, so this recognition of their work is a step in the right direction.

“We look forward to hearing more about how this extra money will be targeted to those most in need.”

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said it was “vital” such groups “continue to deliver specialist help and advice for those most in need”.

She added: “This package will mean charities can support organisations whose services are in demand and provide assistance at this challenging time while also providing funding for energy-efficiency measures to reduce their future operating costs.”

About a quarter of the cash will be used to fund measures over the next two years to increase the energy efficiency and sustainability of voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations.

This could include new boilers, heat pumps and insulation allowing them to deliver more efficient services for vulnerable individuals.

This is in addition to £20m of funding from the Government’s dormant assets scheme announced earlier this month.

Forecasts published alongside Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Budget suggest the UK economy will pass a number of grim milestones in the next few years. This includes the largest fall in disposable income since records began.

The rise in the cost of living means real household disposable income per person is forecast to drop by 3.7 percent in 2022/23 and by 2.0 percent in 2023/24, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

The OBR forecasts the overall tax burden in the UK will rise to the equivalent of 37.7 percent of GDP (gross domestic product, or the total value of the economy) by 2027/28.

This is the highest level since the Second World War. It was previously forecast to peak at 37.5 percent of GDP in 2024/25.