Feel like I have a mountain to climb to rebuild my life from the bottom up. Literally starting again. One step at a time though. Feeling grateful for my lovely daughter and dog and my gorgeous new secure (and cheap!!) home.
Been an interesting few days, my last 3 weeks have been busy, going to Disney Paris with my partner and her children, attending court regards my children and no professionals turning up because the court forgot to send the order. My partner has a colonoscopy that went wrong and now I am in trepidation with regards Monday coming as I am back in court. Life if very on edge for me, I am struggling to know what to do for the best sometimes when though I think things will be better soon. Life definitely is throwing me some curve balls at the moment and I hope it will get easier soon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Feeling very unsupported within the welfare system as a neurodivergent family. No one will recognise that my autism and my husband's ADHD affect our ability to work. Self- employment is work we can do, but not the hours we’re expected so we can’t meet our minimum income floor, and are trying to survive on a monthly UC payment that is less than our rent! But because we fail the extremely narrow (mostly physical) limited capacity to work assessments if we weren’t self-employed we’d be expected to take any job - despite us both knowing that there are aspects of most jobs that we literally can’t do, or that would make us ill. The system is broken.
I want to start by saying that I’m managing, that I’m not broken, but, that I know I can’t keep things going as the situation stands, without significant impacts.
That’s what I want to speak about, the impact of poverty on my physical and mental health. How, if I track my life from 2019 to now, I can see just how messed up things have become.
It wouldn’t matter how much money I had right now in a way, the damage is done.
Poverty, slowly but steadily, removes your true voice. It takes away the strength to fight, to believe that we are worthy.
Over time, our friends have stopped asking us to attend events, stopped inviting us to places because we cannot afford to join them. Our circle has reduced so much and as a single parent to a child with additional needs, that has slowly destroyed my sense of self worth and my ability to get out and try to enjoy life.
My body ‘feels’ broken. I am experiencing a very difficult menopause and despite multiple attempts to garner healthcare support, I am unable to due to a family history of cancer. I’ve given up asking. So I just suffer and I don’t use that word lightly.
I can’t properly care for myself any longer, and that is so very sad to me. I gave up smoking and drinking alcohol, I tried to eat healthily but it’s so expensive now.
I recently had a minor accident and really hurt my foot. I absorbed the pain and carried on because there is only me to take care of things. I found out from my doctor when I could finally get in, that I have a suspected hairline fracture on my foot. I’ve just carried on, because although rationally I know I need to rest, realistically, I can’t. I can’t afford to get help to do jobs in my home and I have no one to help with my son.
I absorb the pain and I think well this is all you can do, but it makes me so so sad that I even matter so little to myself now.
I am not the person I was in September 2019. When I finally had help with my son, I had a part time job, I had possibilities and a bit of hope. I was building back up after difficult times and honestly thought we can do this, things will get better, they haven’t.
Recently, my stepfather died and the devastating effects of that have hit me hard. I come from a fractured family and have no support at all from them. They hid his death and I found out by accident. I cannot tell you how that felt and as I add that to the mountain of suffocating beliefs that I don’t deserve better, I know that getting out of this dark place has become something I just cannot see.
Whilst I keep telling myself you aren’t broken, the reality is a very different story…
I’m trying hard to keep the faith and I support others through voluntary work and a listening ear, so it isn’t over, yet.
I wanted so much more for my son, how sad that so much greed and apathy to the lives of people on low incomes has rendered any dreams that I had, void.
I do think that we have survived a lot, and maybe we can get through. But the crisis in the actual ‘cost’ of living this way is far from over for so many of us.
For people like us, the cost of living crisis is far from over. Just because inflation rates may have slowed slightly, this does not all of a sudden mean people who rely on in-work or out of work benefits can afford the basic costs of living. Again it is the media who are perpetuating this, and there are perhaps political reasons to do so. Surely if the crisis was over, then families like ours would not be paying a larger proportionate percentage of income for food, housing and energy.
This September has hit the hardest. I have had to make cuts to what I buy in terms of school uniform, eeking out last year’s tattered uniform and making do with items outgrown. The cost of childcare has increased too and that has put an enormous strain on my budget.
Certainly not, while the price of some things has gone back down a bit in price such as gas, electricity and fuel, there are still millions of families like mine that are going to have no choice but to leave the heating turned off this winter and stay cold in our own homes due to the cost. I am unable to afford to cook food on a daily basis, often having to eat cold meals instead that do not require the use of gas or electricity. In the shops the price of some foods has also come down slightly such as fruit and vegetables but again the cost of fresh fruit is still far too high to enable us to afford the recommended amount, also I am sure most people have noticed that apart from price increases in a lot of supermarket prices there has also been a reduction in the amount / size of package simply meaning another increase.
I also feel this has a larger effect on those receiving Legacy benefits that did not get any increase along with other benefits earlier in the year and also missed out on most cost of living payments. My situation on Legacy benefits means myself and my daughter are living on the same amount as we we were five years ago apart from the small increase in child benefit, with no help from my previous partner this is all we have to survive on. So simply, NO the cost of living crisis is not over and is yet a long way off. I am starting to lose hope that anything will change for low income families no matter what government is in place within my lifetime. Whenever there is a price increase in utility bills, internet connection, food or anything else it means I have to make more and more cutbacks in other areas to stay afloat.
It is not a case of if and when things will change, it is NOW that changes must be made in order for a fairer society where we can all have a reasonable standard of living, bring up our families to have the best possible start in life that is achievable and be in a situation to lift themselves out of a life of poverty.