It is hard enough living below the poverty line, surviving on benefits, if they don't rise with inflation it is effectively an income cut to the poorest people in UK society. We would have to make more difficult decisions about how to spread the same amount of money even further. We are stretched thin enough already and have been for years. It affects our family's health but I believe that is Government's intention and desire.
I would be slightly disappointed if benefits didn't rise in line with inflation next April, but wouldn't be surprised if they didn't either, especially if the Government say that they are unable to do it because of austerity.
This means that there would be a high risk of getting into debt, reviewing your grocery shopping list to ensure that we don't buy what we can survive without, more second hand clothes/shoes shopping. No money to do fun things (ice cream, cinema, etc).
As a family who already have used food banks to get by in the last 6 months, to then not have benefits increased in line with inflation would be a devastating blow to our already struggling finances. Everything is costing more and more, I can't remember the last time we went out to the cinema or had a meal out - increasing days are spent at home, wondering how we can utilise what we already have and thinking about different revenue streams. To then have to worry further about our household income demonstrates how profoundly the cost of living crisis is still affecting families like mine. The stigma attached to people claiming benefits continues, as the general feeling surrounding increasing benefits is often frowned upon. I've heard people saying "They get enough already. Why don't they get up and work for a living" We still have a long way to come as a society, and increasing benefits will at least give those struggling a sense of dignity.
If benefits didn't increase in line with inflation it would bring a very significant negative impact on me and my family.
We are already trying to make ends meet, scrimp and save. It would squeeze us further, there would be no money for social activities, health and exercise based activities, leisure /holidays just wouldn't be affordable.
The ripple effect of this would be a strain on our mental health and also, in the long run, our physical health and wellbeing will feel the detriment of this unfair economic situation.
We are already under pressure to run family. Top of that if benefits not increase then we have nowhere to go. Government should take care of its citizens by providing them the quality of life that they deserve in civilised society.
Benefits have not kept up with inflation. For instance, the increased rents for the housing benefit element, where rents have increased significantly but the local housing allowance stays the same. This is pricing those who have no choice but to rent privately into further difficulties. It is already difficult to make ends meet on benefits. We feel powerless about the decisions only the government can make. In simple terms we will be plunged into deeper poverty if benefits do not keep up with inflation, and the government does not care.
The way I see it, the cost of living crisis is DEFINITELY NOT OVER, nor looks likely to be over in the coming months or years.
I believe the ongoing cost of living crisis is pushing up prices in every sector of the economy and the country as a whole is still suffering.
Around where we live petrol costs have crept back up again. (Were down to £1.35 p/l now back at £1.52). An average weekly food shop for 1 adult /1 child is coming in around double what we were paying back in early 2022. We've basically quit buying anything other than what meals we might like a few days at a time to avoid throwing away food that perishes easily. So no choice with fresh fruits or veg, dairy produce or fancy extras like dips desserts or pre prepared salad items. Even supermarket pizza is around £6 upwards. That's a pizza meant for 1 person by the way - at home.
We ate takeaway last week. I was shocked it came to £20 two meals. I had chicken cashew nut with fried rice, the sauce was watered down, the meal was full of large watery onion & green peppers with about 5 half cashew nuts in the entire serving?! Seems to me everywhere is feeling the pinch!?
I've had car insurance renewal up over £100 on last year's price which is an outrageous amount to have to pay. Thankfully I've shopped around to find cheaper but not easy to do.
Nothing is any cheaper. Quarterly water rates jumped up by £30 earlier this year!!!? Not just a few extra pound.
Obviously I've also seen an increase in energy bills over the last few months.
There's no increase in my payments to account for the extra costs. In fact it's been both in the news and social media that the government are looking to cut benefits for those with long term health conditions. I am livid with their measures. I jump through enough hoops to take their rigged tests already! If I could work I would. I loved my old job.
I have basically gone without so much of this last year just to afford to cover the day to day bills. I've been wearing old bikini tops as I haven't been able to afford new underwear as it's no longer fitting or falling apart. Does nothing for your self esteem at a medical appointment to not have clean well fitting underwear.
Once upon a time I could take my two youngest shopping and tell them, "no problem! We can afford the luxury products", at the supermarket!!! We didn't have to worry about the bank balance or the account having enough in it to cover meals out when I couldn't face shopping /cooking, or the cinema to cheer up up/end of the week treats, etc.
So in my view, no it hasn't gone away. The cost of living crisis is still very much alive and kicking and here to stay by the looks of things. 😤
Well. That went well. Further to my last diary entry about renewing my child benefit & tax credit claims online because my now 18 year old is staying in full time education, I didn't receive my child tax credit payment last Friday. I was expecting £180 - but received nothing. I was expecting to be able to pay my bills, but left floundering. I tried to access my Tax account online but was unable to. So I've just spent 50 minutes in total - most of that on hold to apprise HMRC of my situation. In order to do that I had to top up my phone. Oh! The irony! Turns out that my claim for Child Benefit had been updated, but the info somehow hadn't gone through for the Child Tax Credit department, even though it asks you if you want to inform them at the same time. Technology can be the bane of a benefit claimant's life. One mistake can upend your bank account & it takes up to 14 working days to put it right. Meanwhile, you're left adrift until the money comes through. Of course any arrears will be paid, but when you are in need, it feels like an eternity. It's a good job my 18 year old has received his PIP today - I'll have to borrow from him until it's all sorted. I shouldn't have to, but that's what you're reduced to. And you feel a constant failure as a parent as it's not my son's responsibility to keep us afloat.
The benefit system is always screwing folk over, like we've not got enough to worry about as it is. I'm getting nearly £40 deducted for rent arrears in the place I literally just moved in to, the notification of deduction came from current landlord, according to UC - bear in mind I've no letters of rent arrears from anyone, current or past landlord, and when pressed UC said it's from current landlord and they said that they were told that current landlord had discussed it with me. Which is BS.
So I'm working with a local charity who've been helping with moving during such a high stress time in my family's life, so they're trying to sort it. They rang my landlord who said they've no record of rent arrears or anything on my account cos I've just moved in. UC won't listen. It's too much for me to think about right now so I'm leaving it to my housing support worker but it's not easy losing £40, when you're on benefits that's a huge amount. It's just one effnup after another with benefits.
Single parent life, no child maintenance payments for 3 years. Child maintenance are just a nightmare to deal with wish there was somewhere that would deal with them or make it easier. No one there seem to want to do their job, I wouldn’t mind but it wasn’t even me who set up the case it was the supposed paying parent who doesn’t pay
I feel sheer panic when I think too much about the future. At the moment, my son is 2 so I have no work commitments. Once he's 3 I'll be considered gainfully self employed and hopefully will get a start up year, but by the time he's 4 I'll have to bring in a consistent monthly profit or the Minimum Income Floor will be applied and we won't be able to afford to live.
The pressure of making a business profitable, and not just profitable over a year but profitable every single month regardless of expenses being lumpy, is terrifying. But I can't go back to being employed - between my health and my son's health, it's not possible. The work I do is important and I love it, but all the DWP care about is profit. It's such an unrealistic and cruel standard to place on a small business when plenty of large corporations get lots of government support and aren't anything like as profitable, % wise, as sole traders are required to be.
I've had to think in terms of 3 months at a time maximum, because if I let myself see the bigger picture I get overwhelmed by the clashing priorities of building a sustainable, meaningful and successful business (and life!) versus meeting the DWP's capricious and unyielding requirements so that we can afford to eat.