Hi Uisce, thank you for your question.
My answer is, the cost of living crisis is very far from over. I was at the supermarket a few days ago, my food trolley came to £124.00. Before Covid this would have cost me less than £80.00.
I was shocked at the cost of my shopping which had only gone up in price for the same items, I wasn't even getting more in quantity. Very depressing situation for many people. Especially difficult for families with young children.
Nothing reassures me that this situation is over and there's certainly no evidence of the cost of living crisis being over and behind us. It's very much right in front of me on a daily basis .
I feel this is going to carry on for a long while and that's not a nice feeling at all.
Food cost has always been a main issue for my family. It is still going up!
There is nothing that is falling much or quick enough. I don’t think this is something that will be over any time soon.
At least another few years and for me personally I don’t think the covid pandemic is fully to blame. I think more than half of it is because of Brexit. Then to be honest greed from big companies, this shows when they give out their reports and show how much profit they earned and would have still earned a profit without upping prices.
There’s a sadness to the end of the summer holidays approaching - which is odd really because I haven’t loved them. In fact, the sadness comes from my guilt at not having facilitated non-stop fun and activities throughout. We’ve managed a couple of days away (to a soggy coast) but generally we’ve been at home, whilst I’ve worked and the kids have entertained themselves. The pretty rubbish weather hasn’t forced me to spend on expensive activities inside so we have endured “pandemic, stay at home vibes” and done what we do best. Now in reflection I’m questioning if I should have done more…but I’m one person and I’m so tired!!! Maybe next summer will be different?
Question for MP's
Why were businesses receiving grants of up to £2000 in lockdowns whilst children in single parent families whose ( mostly fathers) are business owners, received nothing?
The DWP workers were taken off caseloads of the Child Maintenance Service to trace non payers of Maintenance, to process Universal Credit.
My ex husband already had savings and investments, lives in a luxury house, top of range car etc... boasted he received 3 payments of £2000 in lockdowns.
The Child Maintenance Service informed me these grants were not to be used in calculating his income in lockdowns.
My daughter had no financial support throughout lockdowns from her father and I had to use foodbanks. As we became homeless due to private landlord selling up the flat, my ex husband thrived, and still does as he takes advantage of tax and child maintenance loopholes.
Before we were on Universal Credit I always planned to home school our children when they turned five. Even when my husband was made redundant and we started UC, I hoped his business would have grown enough for us to be off UC. However, Covid happened, and my husbands business struggled.
Theres is no room to home-school on universal credit. Both parents have to work or be looking for work once the youngest turns 3. In fact my work coach had me preparing for work and pushed me to send my youngest to nursery when he was just 2 years old.
I would have loved to home school. I’m still sad that we haven’t and we can’t. That parenting choice has been denied for me.
Lots of news filled with the Philip Schofield scandal. Yet so many forgot he is friends with the Tories and the Tories need a distraction in the news from the Covid inquiry.
I faced a massive sudden change in my life, the loss of my job. It was completely unexpected, brought about by pandemic restructuring. The change caused me trauma and left me with mental health illness.
The benefits system, Universal Credit application process, only added more stress to my complex situation/circumstances.
The system lacked empathy, compassion, respect and treated me with very little dignity. I was left me feeling like I was a burden, I had brought about the situation of unemployment.
My work history & tax contributions of 30 + years didn't mean anything. I felt a very deep sense of disloyalty and abandonment at my time of need. On top of losing my job, fighting to stay well I had to cope with having to survive financially by turning to my savings.
I paid my£600 rent on time and in full on the 1st of every month before and throughout lockdowns. My private had made no attempt to contact me within the 3 years I and my daughter stayed in the flat.
Out of the blue, in lockdowns, I started to receive phone calls from the landlord's wife that the neighbours (in their own bought flats) had called them and complained I was causing damage in communal areas of the block of flats. I found this strange as the neighbours never came to me direct and how did they have my landlord's phone number as they moved away across the country. These absurd phone calls became more regular and the landlord and his wife decided to visit.
They picked faults of our living conditions. It was not a show house, it was lived in and I had a basket of washing sitting to be ironed. The landlord's wife made a fuss saying I was not coping mentally. She went into my daughter's bedroom without permission. My daughter has autism and the landlord and wife did not respect us. My daughter was struggling with her mental health at the time and became distressed as the landlord's wife sat on her bed announcing she was a retired social worker and it was clear that we were not coping.
I lost my temper and shouted for them to leave.
Landlord did not adhere to laws and give 24 hours notice to visit. He would sit outside my flat early in morning and wait for me to leave as he mentioned he had a key and could enter his property any time he liked.
Police and the private rental housing officer of council played it down as lockdowns were causing tempers to rise.
One morning the landlord pushed his way in and both my duaghter and myself pushed against the door. He put his foot in the door and shouted we were attacking him! I called police who said it was a domestic and we needed to calm down. They did not come out to flat. I called all services who supported my daughter who is autistic. None were available and all working from home. They were not allowed to enter my flat due to council covid restrictions.
Finally a kind volunteer from Citizens Advice came out and arranged a time with landlord to have a discussion.
Turned out that this was typical bully behaviour of private landlords who wanted to evict tenants but not want to go through proper court procedures as it costs.
There was no reason to evict us. The communal repairs were due to the neighbours not having home insurance and blamed me to get my landlord to pay. They were all in cahoots.
Inside the flat, the landlord had failed to maintain gas boiler annual checks and the 5 year electricity checks. He broke the law.
The lease was not legal binding as it was printed from the Internet and used American legal jargon.
The landlord owned other properties and the tenants could not pay rent in lockdowns and he wanted to sell all his properties as soon as lockdowns lifted.
I had done nothing wrong, but the impact of the bullying landlord still affects the mental health of both my daughter and myself.
I found another private house which was more expensive but was in better condition of the only 2 homes up for rent. I got into debt with a high interest loan to pay the deposit. The council offered to support financially for deposit and white goods but took 12 weeks to process the application that stated 28 days turnaround. By that time we were already in our new home. The council refused to reimburse me.
I had no washing machine or fridge freezer for first few months and had to buy second hand and pay a local man to plumb in washing machine. With high interest payments on the land for removals and deposit. We were in poverty.
Again citizens advice came to the rescue with organising lower loan repayments.
We been here 18 months now... The house is cold an damp not insulated. No carpet downstairs yet. Draughts can be felt from windows when shut. Black mould growing on front of house walls. Minor repairs are not being done letter box broke off and can see daylight through a gap. Energy bills are very high.
Leasing agent is kind but making excuses of the damp being caused by walls sweating due to pictures on walls. We took pictures off walls, cleaned the mould off and 2 months later there is more black mould.
I am paying over the benefit limit and the energy bills are still high even though I received cost of living payments, the bills are not any lower.
Looking for a more affordable home is near impossible as rent prices are up again over the housing benefit limit.
I switched just after the pandemic set in. I lost my job and was moved from WTC. The 5 week wait is agonising and extremely difficult to see how anyone can justify this as support for the lowest income households.
I ended up with debts because I couldn't afford to keep up with agreed agreements, I ended up paying additional charges and interest. This all further compounded the stress the switch was having on me. I am only catching up with myself now nearly 3 years later and that is going without a lot of things and working full time!!
I did get some discretionary support throughout the 5 weeks but they only allow for food at a set rate per day, even though they go through you entire finances just to award you a basic non repayment. It certainly wouldn't cover the rising cost of cooking and food now.
It is shameful what this government is doing to people, where has equity and equality gone?
Our council has supported us with food vouchers over the pandemic. This year the council will provide supermarket vouchers to those on a low income, over the school holidays, which will amount to £200.
I’ve always thought it would be beneficial if we could receive money or a grant to cover the costs of school uniform.
School uniform is a huge expense over the summer term.
I've had a particularly tough year with low mood. When I say low, I mean no mood - I feel flat, hollow, empty & apathetic all the time, despite being on the top dose of antidepressants. Any joyful, mindful moments are short lived. When I think about it, I don't think I've felt safe since the pandemic "ended". I use inverted comments because people are still being infected as the world returns to so-called normal. It must have ended because the Covid-19 app that pinged you if you'd been in contact with anyone has been discontinued, so we can uninstall it from our phones, right? The irony being is that even when my son was twice ill with Covid it never pinged - not once. Yet for many other people it pinged incessantly & unnecessarily - a so called "pingdemic". What an absolute waste of money for the nation - money that could have gone towards the most vulnerable to help them weather the storm.
I’m so tired. Since COVID my anxiety has been so high and I can’t seem to get myself to go out and do fun things like I used to which is frustrating. Also I really want to go and work and move to a more suitable location but lack of childcare makes it impossible and no one will look after my 3 kids together either. I’m literally so stuck and drowning.