Its currently freezing here and I'm sneezing and sniffing constantly. I wish I could afford the luxury of switching the central heating on for longer than 2 hours a day. It doesn't seem too long ago we had the option to do this and far more little luxuries besides but it seems to me the government has well and truly put a stop to allowing families like mine to thrive let alone survive.
It's not as though I'm not constantly on the look out for new or different ways to save money. Short of filling a flask with boiling water every day to save re boiling the kettle or wearing a coat indoors on a permanent basis during winter months its all getting rather tiring to continue living life like this and it's taken its toll on my spirit my stamina and my sanity.
Last week the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published their study about the amount of children who experienced destitution last year, Universal Credit changes are making it harder for single parents to 'single parent' and the DWP also held a consultation on drastic changes they plan to make to the Work Capability Assessment.
All of the above is diabolical news and is likely to have catastrophic consequences to millions including me.
The country is completely broken in my humble opinion.
The government believe benefit claimants like me, are a drain on the system. They believe claimants like me cannot manage their money adequately. They try to make us out to be the enemy of the tax payer, yet we all pay taxes one way or another at various times in our lives. Lets not forget we subscribe to a system of paying taxes as UK citizens. I for one would gladly pay my taxes for the benefit of others without question. My brother has no problem with paying his. My friends pay theirs, my Dad paid his all his working life and was glad to do so and so on.
We've had 13 years of austerity under the current government and yet government spending is so far out of control the best answer they can come up with is to cut back even further on help for the poorest in society.
Someone needs to wake them up in Whitehall. In my view, from what I've heard in recent times, the vast majority of politicians are so far out of touch with the difficulties of the common man or woman in the street I seriously doubt any of them have a good idea to reach a conclusion between them at this time.
I think we need a new political party altogether and a systems overhaul. Is it too controversial to sack the Royal Family? I'm not sure how much more these cut backs and extreme hardship I can take?
I am worried about the minimum working hourly that changed recently to get benefits - in Universal Credit. It will be too difficult for parents of younger age to live on minimum benefit. Government should rethink about this payment.
I cannot believe after all the campaigning the government does what the government wants and just surprise announces that the 30 hour requirement will now go ahead.
If they were this quick and efficient in supporting people who are suffering in benefits, chances are, this would not have to become a law.
Always putting plasters over sores, not treating the cause or supporting parents who want to work the 30 hours with better access to childcare! When is the government going to understand that it is systematic change we need, not chaotic measures to ‘undo’ the damage that has been brought upon civilians in hard times! Having small children is slowly beginning to look like a crime in this society and many parents are already feeling penalised for it.
The temperature inside has dropped and the cold is keeping me awake.
I am subject to conditionality, and am worried about sanctions. I am a single parent of two, one of my children is in primary school. He already attends breakfast club and the after school club during school days. Recently I have increased my hours to meet the potential minimum income threshold of £812. Instead the government have decided the main parent must work at least 30 hours. This is four extra hours I must find on top of my week. My anxiety is spiralling. How will I find these extra hours? It was difficult enough to find a job suited to working around the wrap around care. Not to mention the cost of childcare during the school breaks. I’m expecting to receive notification of a job centre meeting soon.
Although I am not subject to work requirements, I have close family and friends who have struggled immensely when being forced to find work without adequate childcare. Those without a support network struggle, and shouldn't be forced to find paid employment when their job (raising a child) is arguably the most demanding and difficult job there is. Increasing claimants work requirements disregards people's individual circumstances, and adds pressure to vulnerable people's mental health. This is NOT the solution.
we already claim in work benefits & both work over 30 hours a week, so the changes won't affect us as any work coach support is voluntary to help us earn more for our jobs (husband is a HLTA & Cover teacher on around 20k and I work as a Careers Adviser on 22k). However I think the 30 hour commitment is short-sighted as it is impossible for single parents of younger children 0-13/14 to work outside school run times and, as most single parents are women, its just another way to keep women & children in poverty and limit their spending power. Who is making these decisions without consulting the benefit claimants & employers who will tell you many single mums work p/t hours to fit around the school day. Even married parents or those with partners often do the same as wrap-around care is expensive & children can't be left alone until they're older.
I do not currently have work requirements as I claim legacy benefits, but am concerned about when the change comes to move over to UC how this is going to affect my family on both a financial and mental health situation. As far as parents and carers are concerned I do not believe that they should have the hours increased as this is going to put a lot of strain on those that are trying to bring up or care for people in difficult circumstances. This is already full time work, having extra restrictions will not benefit children or those needing care, but take away valuable time that parents and carers can spend bringing up their children in the best possible way so they can achieve the best possible outcome for their own future.
Hi. Thank you for this question. I don't know why the government is just trying to make things uncomfortable. For most of us, I believe this increase in working hour is going to have serious impact on our mental health. Like me, I'm trying to manage it is. And it's not going to go well with me trying to add more to my working hours. And I'm very sure it's going to happen to other parents as well. I'll be glad if there can be a kind of campaign, because they must hear our voices and that is why we are together. It's going to affect me, my mental health, because I need to have my time with my children as well. So I need to take care of them. So I'll be glad if something tangible can be done. Thank you very much. Bye.
I am not in the position of UC rules at this time, but due to migrate to UC soon.
Already I have anxiety about meeting targets of finding work of up to 30 hours per week.
I am constantly drowsy and brain fog/ short memory has me barely keeping up with housework.
As I rent privately as a single parent of one teen with autism, I am using the disability benefit to cover the high rent. The council refuse to award discretionary housing payment.
I did an online benefit calculation which showed I would be £18 a week worse off working 30hrs per week than working 16 hrs, due to the high rent.
Although my daughter is 17, she still needs guidance. From experience, I have had many issues of her not settling at school to the point where she had a complete nervous breakdown as she was bullied and didn't understand why. The secondary school was unsupportive.
I have no contact with her father due to the severity of his violent temper. I have no financial support from him either.
We moved away 8 years ago to be safe but still isolated from the community. A single mum in an affluent area near and still stigmatised here.
My hearing difficulties give me anxiety as experience has shown me short tempered and resentful work colleagues.
I would need to travel into the city for work on an unreliable bus service. Each winter, storms bring flooding, power cuts and cancellations of public transport. Who would pay me if I can't get into work?
I still remember how difficult work was when my child was younger. Chicken pox followed by an ear infection, no support and childcare would not accept her. 6 weeks with no wages, but still needed to pay for the place at the childcare setting. I sat in the job centre with a 4 year old with a high temperature crying on my knee trying to explain to an irrate woman who worked there, that no my mum could not look after her as she died when I was young. The woman did not believe me. The stress of no income and having to provide sexual favours to a violent ex partner to receive money for food is not my proudest moment. He had the control by dangling maintenance money, but I had to prove myself to get it.
My boss had no empathy for having a child that seemed to be permanently poorly.
I spent more time travelling to and from work which cost me £25 a week in bus fares. I was eligible to have the fares reimbursed but the claim forms tended to go missing on a regular basis after I complained to the manager about work colleagues, disrespectful behaviour to the vulnerable we worked with. My honesty and can do work ethics upset many work colleagues.
I collapsed at work as I was skipping meals to save money to buy school shoes for my daughter. I still remember being called into the school office where the nurse and head teacher asked why I sent my daughter to school in sandles and wooly tights in winter.
I broke down as they measured and weighed her. Social work were to keep an eye on us. I never drank or smoked. All my income was spent on rent, bills and a payment meter.
That was 2012.
Foodbanks were a rarity in a church where alcoholics and drug abusers attended.
I do my best to support others who have been in similar positions.
I see most women in this affluent area do not need to work as their husbands work for offshore companies.
They spend their time with personal trainers and in salons.
Where did I go wrong? Why isn't my daughter receiving financial support from her father to allow me to not have to claim benefits.
I feel worthless and anxiety of the future as my daughter is an adult and can leave home when she wants. Although she spends most of her time in her bedroom hiding from the world and never had a friend.
I have lost faith in humanity. I hold on to the hope these Conservatives are voted out, but also aware of Labour holding the same values on Tory policies that punishes women as mothers.
Is it a crime to be there for your children? Help out at playgroups and teach them to bake cakes? To cheer them on at sports day?
To nurse them when poorly, without worrying if we can afford to take a day or more off work?
We have a mental health crisis in children who need a parent to be there and not at work all the time and too tired when they come home after another shift.
I am very concerned the way government make us suffer day by day.
Government knows all but do not care at all.
Winter is here and already worried or have additional worries regarding clothing, heating, which affects your mental and physical health and above all children suffering which is UK future. System is not broken its made like that.
These changes to claimant commitments make me so angry. I cannot put into words my dismay despair and frustrations. Yet again, the importance of good parenting seems undervalued.
Not everyone can afford the luxury of working in a job they deeply love, with great pay and conditions and a marvellous employer who allows you to bring kids to work when you can't access appropriate childcare because you need to be flexible in your role.
Not everyone can afford the luxury of having extended family or friends around to muck in at short notice with domestic help practical or financial support when life throws a spanner in the works and the strain of running a home combined with family life and work doesn't equate to the dream of the supposed work life balance you were promised or the shorter working week that doesn't exist.
Not everyone can afford the luxury of an amicable or tolerant relationship with their ex partner who happens to pull their weight sufficiently when it comes to childcare responsibilites.
Yes lone parenting is work. Being a positive role model is work. Running a home is work. Being a good citizen, living a life of decent moral standards and values is work. Trying to do all this on top of sustaining low paid unfulfilling employment without the back up of reliable dependable practical and finacial support is maddness. It leads to burn out. "You can't pour from an empty cup" they teach on parenting courses. Where or when is there likely to be opportunity to afford any downtime unless you count sleep? As any good childcare practitioner knows - childcare is continuous. 24/7.
Yes people may argue why should the tax payer foot the bill? However, does the job come first or the child? Are children being treated as second class citizens? You only need to look at episodes of antisocial behaviour involving youngsters for the answers, or look at the difficulties of caring for children with additional needs, or what happens when children are unwell and the parent looses pay whilst the child minder still gets paid?
The political rhetoric is unhelpful. What is it that is being implied? It seems they are trying to vilify/blame those who are according to them are a burden on the system.
They make their proposal appear positive whilst in reality, it amounts to turning people against each other.
Whilst appearing to suggest positive benefits, of their policies, they hide behind a noble intent i.e. helping the tax payer by crushing/conning the poor and getting them into work whilst really they're looking to save money and syphon off more tax.
For some people working may well lead to a better life style, financial independence, adult company, job satisfaction career progression. However most people simply don't ever earn enough to make a better life for themselves.
Bottom line is whatever circumstances have caused that parents situation to be what they are, they are of no consequence. We are the product of our own environment, one which as the countries role models, they themselves have set poor examples, manipulated and destroyed over 13 years of austerity.