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.
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.
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'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.
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.
My daughter will start her class nine this September. So she will need new dress as her dress code will change as well as extra stationery means extra cost. Extra after school club means extra food. So everything together will give me a bit of a burden which I need to manage.
I’ve just been paid and so did the uniform shop today. Fortunately I haven’t had to buy a complete range of new uniform (unlike last year when my daughter started secondary school), so that has helped. But the usual extortionate cost of footwear remains. I’ll be glad of the routine again come September but dread the onslaught of money for trips and various charitable requests / non uniform days, milk, school dinners, etc. Everything is so ridiculously expensive and with rising costs in every other area of my life, this just feels like yet another burden to bear.
Hi Ella, thank you for your question.
My Son is in Year 10 now, so it will be things like GCSE material, books, finding extra support, for me that will be the concern. This is an important time for him. Finances are so stretched it's difficult to squeeze a little bit of money for extra support for him. I do feel helpless and guilty for not being able to help him the same I did for my older two boys.
Hiya the school uniform situation is getting me really down, as I'm not entitled to free school meals because I earn £6 over the threshold. Don't know how I'm going to make it work with cost of food going up again in September .
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.
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.