Mum-of-two Leanne, who needed meal vouchers despite working 37 hours a week and claiming Universal Credit, told Action for Children: “I have no disposable income at all.”
Image: Shared Content Unit)
The level of severe and prolonged financial hardship is “among the worst” in living memory, a children’s charity warns today.
Action for Children said its crisis teams use their own money to feed victims’ energy meters and offer families food from their own cupboards.
It insisted the Government could do “so much more” for the worst – and called for a reconsideration of October’s £20-a-week Universal Credit cut.
The charity cited finance officer and mother-of-two Leanne, who needed grocery vouchers despite working 37 hours a week and claiming UC.
She said: “I have no disposable income at all.
“My electricity bill has gone from £188 to £279 a month, my council tax has gone up and I’ve had to increase my oil payments – last year it was 19.5p a liter and now it’s over £1.23.
“Everything has gone up in stores too – from groceries to cleaning supplies.
“Things that cost £1 are now £1.25 – an increase of 25% – imagine that for a grocery store. It was a struggle anyway, but now it’s a lot worse. There’s no way we can survive like this, it’s just impossible.
“A lot of people think chalkboards are only for people who don’t work, but people who work like me need them now.
“You’ve read the reports of energy bills hitting £3,000 by winter – how the hell are we going to afford that?
“We literally cannot live. And my kids can’t do anything fun – I can’t afford to take them on special treats like theme park trips or anything, it’s all gone for them now.”
The charity analyzed 2,354 records from its Crisis Fund grant applications between October and March and interviewed 146 frontline workers between March and April.
The staff survey showed that since Chancellor Rishi Sunak scrapped the temporary UC increase of £20 a week last October, 73% said it had had an impact on the children and families they support, while 57% said it it had a significant impact.
The temporary increase in flagship welfare was introduced to help claimants through the coronavirus pandemic.
Outlining extra help for households in need, the charity said its survey found 41% of crisis workers needed to top up families’ energy meters, 17% negotiated with energy companies to help households manage bills and 9% bought groceries from their own cabinets donated .
Almost a third of households would have struggled to support their children without the fund — an increase to 37% for families with UC.
A quarter of families said they had to choose between eating out or paying bills.
Action for Children’s political director, Imran Hussain, said: “The worst pain and misery of the cost of living crisis is being felt by children in low-income families, yet the government refuses to provide targeted aid to these children, or to accept that they are she needs to reconsider his huge cut in universal credit.
“The level of severe and ongoing financial hardship our services are seeing is among the worst they can remember, depriving too many children of the bright futures they deserve.
“While our crisis fund can help alleviate some of these strains, it cannot address the underlying causes of mounting deprivation or provide a solution for families who are bearing the brunt of this deep-rooted cost of living crisis.”
He warned that “during these trying times, our government can do so much more to prevent the poorest from continuing to suffer the most,” adding, “We urgently need an intergovernmental plan to end child poverty in the United States.” reduce and ultimately eliminate UNITED KINGDOM.”
A Government spokesman said: “We recognize the pressure on the cost of living and are doing what we can to help, including spending £22billion over the next financial year to help people with energy bills and lower fuel taxes.
“For those most affected, we’re putting an average of £1,000 more a year into the pockets of working families on Universal Credit, we’ve also increased the minimum wage by more than £1,000 a year for full-time workers and our budget support fund is there to help with the cost of that.” To help with daily needs.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/charity-staff-use-cash-pay-26981154 Charity workers use their own money to pay poor Brits' bills - 'we literally can't live'