A "toxic combination" of poor wage growth and higher food prices has led to the return of Victorian-era diseases to the U.K., according to an industry body for the health sector.
The U.K.'s Faculty of Public Health (FPH), which represents doctors and public health workers in the country, has linked food poverty with the rise in diseases such as rickets and gout – which were more commonplace during the 19th century.
"It's getting worse because people can't afford good quality food," John Middleton, from the FPH, told the U.K.'s Observer newspaper over the weekend.
"Malnutrition, rickets and other manifestations of extreme poor diet are becoming apparent. (Practitioners) are reporting rickets anecdotally in Manchester, the East End of London, Birmingham and the West Midlands. It is a condition we believed should have died out."
Poverty levels in the U.K. have become a hot political topic since the global financial crisis. Wages in the country have been consistently been below the rate of inflation since 2008, which means that people have been taking home less in real terms. Critics of the current Conservative-led coalition government have also highlighted the rise in food banks in the U.K. Government officials have hit back at these claims, stating that the issues surrounding them have been "hopelessly politicized."
Middleton's comments come at a time when the FPH is drawing up its mandate, set to be released next month, which will call on the U.K. government to do something about these problems before next year's general election. A spokesperson for the industry body told CNBC that the plans would include the idea of having a national food policy in the U.K. and is also likely to call for a tax on sugar in foods.