On Monday morning I was both excited and proud to be able to attend an in person meeting with my local MP accompanied by a team member from CPAG. This was a continuing part of the London lobby day earlier this year.
We took along with us a copy of the zine booklet and some other information about the Changing Realities programme, along with some local child poverty statistics for the area I live in provided by CPAG. In my mind he showed a good interest in the situation that families face.
He also has clear thoughts on what the Liberal Democrats would like to help change, for example, Free School Meals for all school age children and an end to the child benefit cap.
There were also longer term changes that he would like to push for including social tarifs for utility bills. I hope that with all of our efforts being involved in Changing Realities can help bring around change for families living on a low income. Every single MP or member of this government should be looking at the work we are all doing together to help bring about this change without delay. So hopefully all is not yet lost.
I am feeling anxious about approaching winter. This is because of we would need to keep our house warm and I hope that my energy bills will be affordable.
I have been keeping a close eye on when the cost of living payment will be paid and when housing support will be paid as this will help with Christmas and the cost of gas/electricity.
I’ve planned as much as I can plan. Noted down what each month's bill amount should be, what children want for Christmas and cost of it all.
I feel like it has helped me as I know what I need and when I need it by. Rather than having panic.
I'm finally getting a pay rise at work – not till November though so makes me a little less stressed to pay my gas and electricity but on the other hand universal credit will be taking a lot of it off me so is there any point ?
It will bring serious and multiple issues if benefit rates don't increase next April. We have already been rationing since early 2022. We are still no better off for doing so.
Every household bill has increased beyond a reasonable rate, not just energy bills.
I was forced to replace my vehicle this summer. Paying for it, insuring and taxing it has taken a bigger dent out of my bank balance than anyone on a low income would like.
The money in my bank account is literally the only source of money I have to my name, no pension to think about, no savings to speak of.
This wasn't the way I ever imagined I would be living my life at my age, trying to raise a family single handedly all these years has been incredibly difficult on every level.
It's a depressing prospect. I'm not sure how much more of this cost of living crisis we can take. It's embarrassing to ask for charity, we aren't in debt yet, but that could change overnight at this rate.
I already have an empty fridge freezer. I can't face buying a trolly full of food that will end up going off and in the bin because I forgot to freeze it or our appetites change over the course of the week, or I'm unwell and can't manage to cook or eat anything.
I live with the dread of the landlord selling up or increasing our rent. It's a constant worry.
Nobody can be certain whether there will be funding to help with winter fuel costs, I'm already disgusted by the mould growth on our belongings since we moved here 18 months ago, because the house is difficult to heat aside from rationing the heating bills. I can see us still trying to claw our way out of the shortage in our budget after Christmas.
As it currently is, I've never felt so skint as this, in years.
I'd have to stop his swimming lessons, and carry on buying reduced foods and freezing them. I'd probably end up falling in debt as I might end up having to choose paying a bill over food, I know it's coming.
I really would not be surprised if benefits are not increased in line with inflation. There is no understanding in this government about how much it costs for families to live a normal, healthy lifestyle without the constant worry about how people will be able to feed themselves and their children, and cover the cost of rising bills. A lot of bills like broadband and phones rise in line with inflation plus a percentage more each year, leaving families in more financial difficulty. This, I find, is extremely tough as I am one of those who is still on Legacy benefits, who have not seen any sort of increase for several years even during the cost of living crisis, which is continuing despite what they want us to think.
If, next April, all benefits are not increased in line with inflation, I genuinely believe that we will end up malnourished and needing hospital treatment or simply freezing to death in our home, unable to put the heating and lights on even for a short period of time. I am now unable to remember the last time I ate a cooked meal or used the heating, I am now not even boiling the kettle in order to make a hot drink. There are just no more areas to cut back on so if there is no increase in benefit rates in April it will have a devasting affect on myself and my daughter, who is already struggling to work her way through school studying for her A levels. A rise in all benefits is the minimum that the government needs to announce in order for those living on a low income to even think about surviving through another long cold winter.
Was a very strong situation because the cost of everything is super high at the moment. If the benefits no increase We [can't] afford the food, pay the basic water, electricity, etc.
It would be very hard as I'm struggling now with bills and food. I know the people who decide what's happening never struggle.
I don't think benefits will rise in line with inflation. Unfortunately I'm on universal credit personal independent payment ela for my youngest daughter, also carers allowance and they rarely go up and when they do it's just a total of pounds on each.
It would have a massive effect if it doesn't increase slightly because of the cost of living with the gas and electric are now starting to find a pinch with the food bill. It's getting a lot more expensive now. I'm trying to eat more healthily, but unfortunately a bag of fries and chips is a lot cheaper than some fresh vegetables and making a proper meal. So hopefully it does increase and I'm all for you increase with inflation with pensioners, they've worked hard all their lives, they've put the money in, but it would be nice across the board if us disabled were also considered as well.
I hate the minimum income floor. The council are now using our minimum income floor to calculate whether we qualify for a council tax reduction. Which means they are now charging us £200 a month because they’ve taken it away. We don’t have an extra £200 a month!
I am surprised to hear that some media channels say the cost of living crisis is over.
I have never seen any information online or on TV. I have not heard anyone speak of this.
If so I would be writing about it in my diary. I would have hope again.
Food costs are still rising and private rental homes are still increasing, here in Stonehaven.
I noticed my broadband bill has jumped from £25 to £31.99 and I've not had heating on throughout the summer.