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.
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.
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. 😤
Council Houses are such a mixed bag. Like as far as housing options go, council is the safest and cheapest generally, there's better tenancy security and free repairs. But the quality of said housing, the damp I have in my new place, the mould that keeps coming back no matter how often I scrub it off. The electric shower is older than I am and many of my neighbours report complaints with theirs, including one who said hers electrocuted her! Which was when council finally replaced it. My toilet leaks, my shower sometimes randomly doesn't work and the damp (all council say about the damp is that I should wash the mould away with mould killer, like duh, and I can paint it myself if I want to, but I'm physically unable to do so, plus it's their responsibility not mine) is only a matter of time 'til it affects my asthma. But it's still better than the private market, so councils can get away with not giving us safe homes cos what else can we do about it but make the best.
I've got a friend who therorises that councils deliberately want low level support to "undesirable persons" so we can die quicker and they don't have to pay our benefits anymore. Some days I can really see what she means.
I'm also having to do my own research and data collection, which is exhausting and will cost me quite a bit when I go to the library next week to print it off, cos the NHS mental health services don't want to acknowledge my diagnosis (they say that they don't like to give people labels but that's bull, what they don't want is liability) but I can't access the right services for my care needs because they keep saying one thing and doing another. So I'm having to fight for the care needs I need. It's so depressing, makes me feel unworthy of basic care support needs.
On a bright note, a friend gifted me a disabled toilet key and it's so helpful, made a huge difference. It's often the little things that make a big difference.
Been up doctors for me, and my youngest came with me and walked all way home, which took 20 - 30 mins. Longest she's walked, and yesterday used her potty – so proud!
There was a story on my internet homepage this morning stating that an MP had said you can tell why people are obese by what is in their shopping trolley. If the government were to give people on a low income a bit more money we could buy healthier food and look after ourselves better, which would mean a saving for the health service.
Our local town is in a political battle of blame over buses. Our town has one bus provider, Arriva, and they're saying they'll cut buses to essential places (including no longer servicing the bus stop by the mental health hospital) by early July cos local council won't give them enough in subsidies (shockingly it's mostly the routes that service the elderly and disabled that are getting cuts, the ones full of concessionary bus fares). Local council has gone public saying the bus service is using cutting routes to hold council to ransom with most vunerable users cos they want more money that every other bus service in the outta area has happily accepted. While they fit for tad on who's the blame and will council pay more or will arrica cut these essential services. And I'm sitting here, trying to figure out how I'm meant to get to therapy without the bus, taxis are £10.50 one way to mental health hospital, I can't afford a two way trip once a week. Let alone all the other groups and services I attend to help manage my mental and physical health.
I applied for a concessionary bus pass, in April, still not heard from them.
It seems like such a small problem to most, but it isn't to those of who trapped and restricted by these service cuts left right an center.
I hope either arriva back down and keep the services, or council pays then to keep it. I'll be angry at arriva for the latter, council tax is already so high as it is and it's not like we have any other choice there are no other bus services except arriva in out town.
Oh but don't forget while all this goes one people get blamed for using their cars and clogging up the roads, gov and drs and who knows who else say "use the bus, ditch the car, save the planet" and that's pointless with no buses to use, or when those buses can use the vunerablity of elderly and disabled service users to bully the council into paying them more. If they do get paid more they'd still up their costs and not pay their drivers enough. Greedy fits.
This question of the week is very interesting, but also very difficult to answer. An immediate thought might be great, but when you think about it more it seems to be riddled with problems and far too many to write about here. There are to many different types of family and household groups to consider for one, near where I live there is a small terraced house where there is a large family of 8 or more working adults living together, Where as I am a single parent on Legacy benefits, not even able to receive free school meals for my daughter.
Or put in another way there are so many geographical differences in the cost of living, so I don’t believe it could really level out society that much. There are different costs involved with living in a city center or in the countryside.
Other things to consider would be…
How open to fraud would this be,
Initial cost to the country & where would the money be recovered from,
Number of qualifying adults in a household,
Would other help remain, for people with disabilities ect. War injury payments, pensions, PIP, funeral payments. This list could go on…
Medical health costs, NHS dentist, medical exemption certificates, infant milk,
What about the homeless ? What about refugees that are unable to obtain public money?.
On the face of it it would seem to be a good idea but it would not change the fact that we are all living in an unfair society that has very little chance of changing.
There are many people in this country that simply would not even notice if they were given 1600 pounds a month. Also there are many families / households in this country that do not get that amount, Including housing costs, new style ESA, water help ect. I am one of these people despite living with and supporting my daughter who is still in full time education and will one day hopefully be able to make her own way out of the life she has been up in despite it being her fault in any way.
As for the actual question I just remembered I was answering. I simply don't know, it has been too many years since myself and my daughter led any sort of meaningful life.
Government should redesign the healthcare system for allowing patients to access into healthcare service better as there were a long queue to get an appointment. Besides this have to invest heavily into policing system to uproot crime, violence, mugging and harassment on the street, home, office or in public places.
Feeling extremely demoralised. My 18 year old is currently in the midst of a mental health crisis for over 10 days now, fuelled in part by him not being properly followed up by CAMHS. We hadn't had an appointment since January 2023. Part of the problem is the he is 18 now - so "should" be cared for by the Adult Community Mental Health Team - but he is very complex needs including his recent ADHD & Autism diagnosis, which is taking some adjusting to. It got so bad that I had to take him to the local A & E to access acute psychiatric support from the on call duty psychiatrist. We managed to get an urgent CAHMS reveiw for the following Tuesday, so he is now "back on the books". But for over 12 days, now, I have been unable to go anywhere or complete any home duties fully or even take my dog for a walk, because the reality of self harming or worse is ever present & I can't take the rise. I am exhausted to the nth degree, but it's not his fault. Nor is it CAMHS' fault either - they are totally & utterly overwhelmed by children even more unwell than my son. But the Government is patting itself on the back with the announcement that they will invest £150 million for mental health services & fund the provision of 90 mental health ambulances to respond to people in crisis rather than than the Police Service as they are not qualified. The idea is a sound one, but I fear it's going to take much more than that to reverse the trend of declining national mental health.
Things have been hard recently as my son suffers with bowel issues since moving we have put in for local health visitor to do a referral to continence team which was never done. So now they said it's got to come from school or doctor which annoyed me as we've been waiting for bout 3 months. School did it well day and one or two days later received letter with phone appointment.
I feel that we are glossing over the many price rises we are facing as supermarkets, including the ‘go to’ cheap ones, raise the cost of everything.
I want us to talk about the doubling of the price of female sanitary products… I want us to talk about deodorant and toothpaste being almost doubled or more in some cases, that tape and wrapping paper is massively hiked in price.
I want us to talk more about the level of greed in this country making the gap between its people and their living conditions, so much wider.
I want to talk about our kids being unable to have life affirming experiences and the children of those of us living in poverty being so directly affected by the huge, huge stress it brings to parents and carers who are just trying to make ends meet.
That washing our clothes is a luxury! I want to talk about that!! I want us to be brutal in our criticism of corporate greed meaning that affording our phones is touch and go, where anything beyond the immediate is becoming unreachable for so many of us…
Why are we not talking about these things more?
When we do go back to lower inflation, the prices won’t return to what they were, so it’s not the huge relief it should be. Because so many companies have exploited our need in such a grotesque way, and got away with it, the power imbalance is so much greater than it ever was and that, is so frightening to me.
Poverty is not something we should just expect… but we are being made to believe that it is ‘a cost of living crisis’ and we need to pull our belts in and there are media influencers giving us ‘tips’ on how to live ‘better’ with our meagre income… it is not the cost of living, it is the cost of greed and the many who cannot afford it at all, are footing the bill.
I want us to talk about cancelled hospital appointments, the ultimate effect of this on already reduced people, the worry over our health, our finances, the future, I want us to talk about the bitter taste that leaves us with… I want us to talk about why, we are raising a generation of children to believe that this is how we are meant to live…