Now that November is here, everyone is starting to think about the festive celebrations to come. Christmas time is everyone’s favourite time of year, a time for family, presents and food – but do we go food mad during the festive period?

According to figures released by GoCompare.com in 2016 families spent a staggering £183 on average just on food and drink for the big day. This means that the country is estimated to spend around £5bn on Christmas food.

Paige Evans said: “I’d say my family spends at least £200 on food for Christmas. That is for five of us and we don’t waste any food, it all gets eaten. It only happens once a year so you want all the treats and stuff don’t you, so I don’t mind spending the money!”

But is this indulgence unrealistic for families on low incomes? A spokesperson from the Cheltenham food bank said: “We do see quite a large increase of people needing our help around Christmas, it does then drop back down after Christmas.”

The Food bank are expecting the number of people not being able to afford to do an extravagant food shop to increase this year again, adding: “It might be worse this year because of everything going on with Universal Credit.”

Universal Credit is a new government scheme which reforms the benefits system, and has been widely criticised.

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