It’s often been said that being poor is an expensive way to live and this weeks British Gas price hikes prove this. Keeping your home warm is always a challenge when you’ve got a low income, indeed many are forced to rely upon pay as you go meters to provide their energy.
Keeping a home warm enough to live in is a basic human right and it shouldn’t be regarded as a luxury but sadly this is soon to be the case for even more people that could barely afford to keep warm already.
On the 1st October British Gas are increasing their prices dramatically.. Heres one example of how much more its going to cost
To put it bluntly no matter how much we scrimp, how much food we won’t be able to buy anymore this will be too high a cost to meet by many of us myself included,. At the same time the government are refusing to permanently increase the £20 uplift payments and nor have they got any intention of extending it to people claiming legacy payments, many of them already vulnerable and living in poverty.
To say I’m furious is an understatement. As I type this smaller energy companies are being forced to close because they too can’t afford the British Gas price increases. It’s obscene. Meanwhile the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has announced that the government will not be bailing out energy companies. The very same energy companies that people on lower incomes rely on.
It’s no surprise to hear this though but its still awful to hear.
This winter is going to be horrific for many of us as the means to keep warm are being taken away from thousands of people with no opposition from within the government.
I was a child during Thatchers awful government, I had holes in my shoes, often lived in a cold home and had no luxuries at all. It’s shocking to see how much worse the present governments rule is. Thousands of people have died as a result of the decisions they make towards the poorest and most vulnerable.
How many will survive this winter? I really dread to think.
How am I?
Still recovering but feeling a lot better. Still coughing but I’ve been told that it might take a while to go, but I’m alive and very grateful for this. Not exactly living but existing like so many other people.
I’m very concerned that I’m going to catch Covid 19 again because its running riot in my daughters school now their mask wearing policies and hand sanitising policies have changed. Children are being constantly sent home from school because they’ve got symptoms and it won’t be long until the whole school is shut as a result. I will write a further blog post about this.
I’m still struggling, a short walk is flooring me but the good news so far is that I’m managing to keep my sats at 94%. Not brilliant but much better than it was.
I shall also keep you informed about this.
Please take care, keep safe and please wear a mask and sanitise your hands. It’s important to stay healthy even when the government doesn’t give a shit.
Please read, share and tweet my blog posts. It’s important to get the truth out there and to as many people as possible.
I don’t receive any funding for any of the work that I do and to say its a struggle is an understatement. Every penny makes a massive difference. For anyone that would like to donate theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my campaign and blog. I really couldn’t do this without you. Thank you xxx.
DPAC (Disabled People Again Cuts) are holding a series of rallies starting on Friday 24th September at 7.30 to 8.30pm to protest against the terrible treatment metered against disabled people by the government and their allies. They will not be silenced and will be heard.
Join these days of action to see how you can become involved in a full array of resistance demos taking place over the next few weeks including The World Transformed, Peoples Assembly,Manchester DPAC and the Campaign Against Empty Homes.
They will also hear from experts by Experience Commission on Social Security and the New Economics Foundations Living Income Coalition about building towards a better social security system.
Tuesday 28th September at 9.00am there will be an online Twitter storm for everyone to join in online.
Audio riot protest will be taking place at 11.30 am meeting first at Kings Cross Station London and will be live-streamed for everyone to join in. Hashtags to be used are #AudioRiot #20More4All #CancelTheCut
Hashtags to use are #AudioRiot #20More4All #CancelTheCut
It’s hugely important that as many of us attend these days of action as possible in any way that we can albeit online or in person. DPAC are long time friends and supporters of myself, my campaign and this blog. They want change, and they need to be heard by everyone.
DPAC have an amazing track record of holding effective online and physical demonstrations, they aren’t scared of making a noise and being heard.
Please support them if you can.
Please note, a normal blog post will be following this important post. I’ll be updating it with how I’m coping etc.
Please read, share and tweet my blog. Its very important that we continue to get the truth out there.
A massive thank you to everyone that reads, shares and supports my blog and campaign. I really couldn’t do this without you.
I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do and to say its a struggle is an understatement.
For anyone that would like to donate theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
I’ve been ill for over a week now and today my daughter has woke up feeling ill, she’s got the same symptoms as I and we are both fed up, can’t stop coughing.
We’ve tested for Covid using the rapid flow tests and I know that we need to do the other test and send it off. This raises a problem. though…. Both of us feel too ill to go out.
It is what it it I suppose. I’m still waiting for a doctor to phone me back because I can’t get to either the doctors or hospital because I’m skint.
My internet bill was due out today and I can’t afford to pay it, so if I’m quiet that is why.
I’m so annoyed with myself for getting ill again, and I know that you’re probably fed up with my complaining about it.
Before I became ill again I was almost over my Long Covid, but now I feel like my recovery will be delayed once again.
I didn’t choose to be in this situation, none of us do but I am. Once again apologies in advance if I go quiet because my internet has been cut off.
I’m praying that I’m better soon and my daughter is too.
It was also my son’s inquest on Tuesday, it went as expected but I was still heartbroken. GMP Oldham also dropped off his belongings that will be put in his chest that I made for him.
Logging off for now because I feel dreadful. Lots of love to you all.
I really hope that there’s brighter days ahead for us all.
I’ll hopefully be back to normal next week.
Please can you like, share, tweet and email my blog posts? Doing this makes a massive difference and it helps the truth get out there.
Theres a donate button at the top and side if this blog post. Every penny makes a huge difference because this makes me able to continue with my blog and campaign. Having my internet cut off will be awful because I do use it a lot helping people etc etc.
A massive thank you to everyone for being here for me and my campaign
It has been reported this week by Rightsnet that the work capability assessment contract with Maximus has been extended by two years to 31 July 2023. The continuation of contract will supposedly ‘secure service continuity and stability’ whilst at the same time allowing the transfer of caseloads and services into a unified assessment service trial.
The DWP (Department of Works And Pensions) have also confirmed that they have extended the existing contract with Maximus UK Services Ltd to provide work capability assessments for employment and support allowance (ESA) and universal credit. This will continue for an additional two years to 31 July 2023.
The DWP have had plans to create a unified, integrated assessment service from 1 August 2021.
The DWPs plans to merge the separate PIP (Personal Independence Payments) health assessments and work capability assessments, ESA (Employment and Support Allowance and universal credit, were put on hold last year as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak .
This was confirmed earlier this year in a written statement to Parliament in July 2020, quoting ‘We recognise that it is vital for our claimants to have a safe and stable service. Consequently, my Department intends to explore options to extend the current contracts for up to two years, which will ensure continuity of services when the current contracts end on 31 July 2021.’
In a contract modification notice published last week, the DWP now confirms that it has extended the existing contract to provide work capability assessments – that was awarded to Maximus for the period 29 October 2014 to 31 July 2021 (at a value of £938 million). This now continues until 31 July 2023.
This will add a further £300 million to the Maximus contract value.
The DWP have commented saying that they will -‘Secure assessment service continuity and stability beyond the current contracts end date on 31/07/21’ .This will provide the contractual flexibility needed for any subsequent changes to the ongoing service design necessitated by Covid-19 measures.
This will enable any associated policy changes made during the extension period.
It will also allow the DWP to implement pre-Covid flexibilities and to remove volume and service from the Supplier into a Departmental Transformation Area/to deliver devolution of specific areas of the service (related to specific welfare benefits) if this is required’
‘For more information, see Health and Disability Assessment Services – contract extension from gov.ukSource Rightsnet
I’m sure that we all agree that these ‘medical assesments’ are cruel and unnecessary for disabled and ill claimants. A doctors and/ or evidence from a medical consultant should be more than adequate to prove to the DWP that they are disabled and/or ill. Any government that genuinely cares for disabled and ill people would of course accept this.
This Tory government have proven time and time again that they don’t care. Instead of compassion they issue a relentless barrage of cruel tests and examinations that cause physical and mental distress to thousands of people everyday.
We have a prime minister that happily spends millions of tax payers money on decorating number 10 and suchlike whilst giving huge contracts to their friends regardless of if they can’t do the job they’ve been contracted to do.
It’s easy for the government to target the most vulnerable because they believe that they won’t fight back. However as we have seen from groups such as DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) and campaigners like myself they can and do fight back in the quest to change things. They do and have made a difference.
Its exhausting though, constantly fighting against the government machine who’s policies reflect the fact that they want to get rid of us. However they forget that there are more of us than they are of them and we will continue to fight to make changes that we need.
Today is my son’s inquest and as you can expect I’m upset, the pain sometimes can be overwhelming. I have to be strong for my girls and my grandchildren.
Long gone are the flowers that I used to place on the little shrine that I’ve created at home. Flowers are expensive as is everything else these days.
I hate living like this and I hate the fact that my son is no longer with us. He had plans to do lots of things including sorting my oldest daughters gardens out and to do mine that I can’t use because its a mess. Little unimportant things like this always remind me of my son and the wonderful young man that he was.
I will be ok though, it will get better but I’ll always grieve for his loss but I will learn to live with it better. No one ever gets over loosing a child.
I’ll be back next week with another blog post.
Please if you can share, tweet, like and email my blog. This does make a massive difference and it gets the truth out there which is extremely important to do.
I don’t get paid for any of the writing that I do and it’s a struggle to say the least. I want to continue blogging and campaigning because its very important to help people.
For anyone that would like to donate theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you also to everyone that subscribes, shares and has and does help my blog and campaign to continue. It means the world to me.
As many of you will already know my son died earlier this year. His death was very unexpected and it was due to no fault of his own. To say that it’s been a struggle is an understatement, after all we aren’t supposed to outlive our children.
My son had plans to go travelling and to work near family in Estonia and Latvia, something that he was looking forward to. Josephs death has changed us all in one way or another.
The sudden death team over at Greater Manchester Police have been amazing, they’ve literally held my hand through it all, from daily phone calls to see if I was ok and other phone calls about Joseph and the horrible stuff that every person has to go through when a loved one dies suddenly.
The loss of Joseph hit me hard again when last week I received a phone call from the coroners office. She phoned to tell me that I would be getting a full copy of his postmortem and notification that they’ve been able to bring his inquest back to the 2nd September rather than October.
Good news I suppose but not the news that any parent wants.
I really didn’t know what to expect when I received my first copy of his postmortem via email, but I did know that reading it would be extremely hard for me. My little boy (even though he was almost 6ft tall) has gone. I had proof in the black and white print I was reading on my laptop.
I suppose that it’s easier to hold onto him before the postmortem results even though we’d already given him a lovely funeral and memorial thanks to everyone that helped me with this. It’s a totally different ball game when you’re faced with it in black and white.
So back to the Postmortem… The coroner couldn’t find a cause of death and this will be the report given at the inquest. I had been warned that this would probably happen. Privately she said that even though theres no obvious cause of death it could have been one extra painkiller that took him away.
I do know however that he fell asleep happily listening to his music after talking to his sister and myself and he wouldn’t have felt any discomfort etc.
The hardest thing to deal with physically was going to his flat and sorting things out. I did this with my oldest daughter and we were very distressed because once again it was a reality check.
We could see exactly what his last movements were. He washed his pots, got changed and went to bed. Everything was left as it was. In a corner we spotted Josephs Easter chocolates for all of us that we no longer would be getting.
Back home I made a wooden chest for Josephs clothes and belongings and I locked them all away safely. I’m hoping that he approves.
Joseph had many struggles during his short life, the most notable ones being his primary and secondary schools refusing to recognise that he was autistic and he had to learn differently to others. I know that many parents of children with additional needs are still fighting this battle.
The sad reality is that years after my son left school, thousands of parents are still forced to fight to have their children educational needs met… From autism, dyslexia and many other additional needs that they might have.
Parents shouldn’t be forced to have to fight for a decent education but still they have to.
Joseph didn’t give up though and despite the odds he did extremely well for himself and I was very proud of him. He was a very special person that is missed by so many.
Never give up fighting for your children, they deserve to be treated well and have their needs met. I did my best but absolutely no one would listen to me.
I’m sorry that this weeks blog is different than usual. I’ll be back to normal next week. Thanks for reading and sharing my blog posts it means the world to me.
Please read, share and tweet my blog. A huge thank you to everyone that does and has supported my blog and campaign, I couldn’t do it without you.
I don’t receive any funding for the work that I do and I’m finding it much harder since my son died.
If you would like to donate theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post. Thank you.
Charities such as Women’s Aid highlighted their concerns about the increasing risk of domestic violence due to isolation when the first lockdown was announced in March 2020
Refuge, a charity that helps people suffering from domestic abuse recorded an average of 13,162 calls and messages to its National Domestic Abuse helpline every month between April 2020 and February 2021.
This figure is a 60% increase on the average number of monthly contacts at the start of 2020, they report..
Between January and March 2020just before the first lockdown in the UK, the charity recorded an average of 8,176 calls and messages per month.
Between April 2020 and February 2021, it logged a total of more than 131,000 such contacts.
Refuge also reported that 72% of these were from women who said they were experiencing violence and abuse, and nearly a fifth said their abuser had threatened to kill them.
They also say that many calls were from women who were being terrorised in their own homes, and who were afraid to seek treatment for their injuries in case they overburdened hospital staff.
Many women were also making plans to flee their homes, while others had no home to go to, leaving them at a high risk of becoming homeless.
Lisa King Refuges director of communications and external relations, said “home is not a safe place” for women and children experiencing domestic abuse.
She also went onto say “Lockdown measures, where women have been isolated and confined with their perpetrators, have compounded their exposure to violence and abuse.”
Refuge report that the largest number of calls and contacts had come from women in their 30s.
Many 16- to 25-year-old women as well as their concerned family members, friends and neighbours, reached out via the helpline’s Live Chat facility to report worries of domestic abuse taking place. The live chat facility enables people to communicate with helpline advisors online and, crucially, in anonymity.
It was reported that in 2020, Refuge made almost 4,500 referrals to refuges across the country, enabling women to flee abusive partners.
When the first lockdown was lifted last year, refuge also reported there was an increase in women seeking emergency accommodation. Refuge have shared their concerns that this could be repeated during the latest lockdown easing.
Respect, a charity that runs an advice line for male victims of domestic abuse, have also reported a 70% increase in calls, emails and webchats in 2020 compared to 2019. And during the latest lockdown, appeals for help continued to increase.
The most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in the period from March to June 2020 there was a 7% rise in domestic abuse offences recorded by the police in England and Wales.
Police figures report that in the four weeks to the middle of January, covering the first two weeks of the last lockdown, there was a 4% fall in recorded incidents of domestic abuse.
But the National Police Chiefs’ Council said not all such incidents would result in a crime being recorded and hidden abuse was not captured in this data.
Charities have always stressed that many victims do not report to the police so the figures are likely to be much higher than reported.
The Home Office said the government had given more than £27m to domestic abuse organisations to help them deal with the effects of the pandemic.
A spokesperson added: “Our landmark Domestic Abuse Bill will bolster the response to domestic abuse on every level, strengthening protections for victims whilst also ensuring perpetrators feel the full force of the law.”
The Domestic Abuse Act
In February 2021, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, told the Home Affairs Committee that the “tail” of the pandemic’s impact on domestic abuse would extend “well beyond” the easing of lockdown, and that survivors depended on these services.
The Commissioner welcomed the Government’s emergency funding throughout the pandemic but said this was nowhere near “the kind of sustainable foundation” needed.
The Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which came into force on 29 April 2021, aims to make changes to better protect victims of domestic violence.
.Organisations such as refuge and Women’s Aid have also welcomed the Act, but they stress that it’s effectiveness relies upon the correct implementation and adequate funding to ensure that it succeeds and meets the needs of people suffering from domestic violence.
On 11 April 2020, the Home Secretary announced £2 million to immediately bolster domestic abuse helplines and online support. By July 2020, £1.2m of this funding had been allocated to service providers.
A further funding announcement followed On the2 May 2020 the government announced that it had pledged £76 million emergency funding to support vulnerable people.. £25 million of this was allocated to domestic abuse services including £10 million to fund safe accommodation for victims of domestic violence.
The Government also launched a public awareness campaign aiming to reassure survivors of domestic abuse that police and specialist services remained open.
On 18 November 2020, midway through the second English lockdown, the Ministry of Justice provided £10.1 million to boost funding for victims of rape and domestic violence with a further £683,000 from the Home Office for domestic abuse organisations.
In January 2021, shortly after England entered its third lockdown, the Government announced that it had partnered with pharmacies across the country to launch the ‘Ask for ANI’ ‘Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) to help survivors.
Pharmacies participating are supposed to display material to let survivors know that trained staff are available to offer a safe and private space, with the option to call the police or other support services if needed.
Whilst the government has given extra funding to domestic violence organisations and charities it still doesn’t cover the amount of funding that has been taken away from these organisations throughout the years since the Tory Party were first elected.
The safety of everyone that is a victim of domestic violence, including children and men should be a priority for any elected government. For that to happen we need to continue to campaign with and on behalf of these organisations to try to get the government to accept that they’re failing victims of violence and abuse.
Personally I believe that the funding given should be increased and extended to exceed the full funding that they were previously given. If not the government will continue to fail those most in need of help and support.
Please like, share and email my blog posts. Every single share and like does make an enormous difference and it enables others to see that this is actually happening.
I don’t receive any funding for my blog and campaign. I’m worried about my ability to continue to do this.
If you would like to make a donation theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my campaign and blog. I literally couldn’t do this without you x.
I’ve spoken to many people and helped hundreds of people over the years since Universal Credit was first implemented in my local town, which incidentally was one of the three ‘trial’ areas for Universal Credit introducing it to an unbeknown community.
Out of all the people that I’ve spoken to throughout the years, not one of them has told me that their payments provided them with a large enough income for them to survive, indeed the opposite applies.
Everyone that I’ve helped or spoken to were and still are living in poverty, unable to provide the very basics for themselves and their families.
Then the pandemic hit us, killing thousands and resulting in survivors battling with Long Covid. The government decided that they’d throw a lifeline to Universal Credit claimants which was an extra £20 a week uplift to help them through the pandemic.
The uplift was and is providing Universal Credit claimants the means to actually survive, to buy some food or to pay a bill that they were an unable to do before.
Whilst £20 isn’t a lot to some people, indeed it isn’t a lot of money at all, it has enabled people to survive.
This lifeline will be taken away in October if the government don’t respond to calls from campaigners, politicians, and even some Tory party politicians.
Universal Credit was created under the guise of making claiming a benefit easier, to help more financially and to make it easier to find work whilst claiming Universal Credit.
It wasn’t long before myself and others saw the reality of claiming Universal Credit, the poverty that it forces upon people and the punishing regime that they are forced to comply to.
The truth is the system was designed to be unfair and designed to be cruel. I have no doubt that it was introduced to force people to comply otherwise loose everything. I’ve been documenting this for years, I’ve seen the terror in a persons eyes when they’ve just been told that they’ve been sanctioned and didn’t know why.
With Universal Credit came cruelty like I’ve never seen before. Claimants being gaslighted by so called work coaches, being spoken to as if they’re the worst thing in the world and that nothing that they do is ever good enough.
I’ve seen people loose their homes and families because they can no longer afford the rent or provide for their children. I’ve helped hundreds of people throughout the years dependant upon food parcels to survive, all of which is documented in this blog.
I cannot see any justification in removing the £20 uplift, we are still living during a pandemic, still becoming ill with Covid 19 and people are still dying from it. The £20 uplift is literally the choice between living or dying. Only a sadistic government would do so.
To put it bluntly Universal Credit doesn’t provide enough to live on, it’s highly prejudiced against claimants and it certainly doesn’t help anyone to find employment. What is needed is a system that actually helps people instead of making them much worse off.
We can only pray for the government to give in to demands to cancel the cut and to continue giving the uplift or making it permanent.
Please like, share and tweet my blog. I don’t receive any funding and I want to be able to continue to blog.
A huge thank you to everyone that has and does support my blog and campaign. I couldn’t do it without you.
The DWP has recently backed down on their high pressure pre-tribunal tactics the day before they faced a judicial review initiated by a disabled woman. Her case concerned the way the tactics that the DWP has been using putting extreme pressure upon PIP claimants via telephone into accepting a lower PIP payment offer rather than attending a tribunal to hopefully receive higher PIP payments.
The claimant known as ‘K’ had been approached by the DWP who made a low offer and told the claimant, known as ‘K’ that they had just one hour to make up their mind. During this conversation the DWP also warned K that tribunals ‘are not very nice to go to’ and if K took it to tribunal they could lose her whole award.
The DWP are well known for their bullying tactics, particularly towards disabled and vulnerable people. K explained that they felt extremely pressured to make a quick decision and wasn’t given the time to make a decision or to seek advice upon this from others.
Needless to say the DWP should not be putting pressure upon people like this, using fear as a tactic to manipulate disabled people into accepting a lesser payment that they are entitled to.
Unsurprisingly the DWP refused to accept it was doing anything wrong for a year until the day before the hearing, when it suddenly agreed to make a number of changes.
These changes being;
Advising staff its essential that they inform claimants that even if they accept a revised offer they still have the right to appeal against it.
Telling DWP staff that they must ensure that benefit claimants do not feel ‘pressured’ into making a decision.
Introducing mandatory training to all staff involved in ‘lapsing’ appeals by the end of October to ensure they understand the updated guidance.
The DWP unsurprisingly, refused to agree to end the practice of making pre-tribunal offers to claimants .
We shall see if the DWP continue to use their intimidatory tactics, or if they agree to the actions agreed upon in the court case.
As you all know the DWP like nothing better than to target the most vulnerable and disabled people, knowing that they might find it hard to appeal decisions made towards them by the DWP, and personally I do think that some DWP workers do get a kick out of doing this.
It’s never ok to treat people like this. No one should have to fight for the very means to survive especially in times like these when everyone is struggling even more because of the pandemic.
Can you imagine how awful it is to receive a letter from the DWP that you are no longer entitled to the very monies that have kept you going? Your very means of survival taken away at the push of a button and an uncaring letter sent to you?
This is the reality of life for thousands of people every day, it sends people into mental and physical distress. It’s a never ending circle of abuse metered upon them by the DWP initiated by the government.
No one should ever be forced to go through this cruelty and we must continue to fight to end this. You can do this by sharing my blog posts and other campaign groups posts. Write to your MP to share your disgust, share posts on Twitter and Facebook. Join a campaign group, share your worries and concerns.
Your voice matters so let’s make sure that you are heard!
This week is a very difficult week for me. As you know my son recently died and it is our joint birthday this weekend on the 1st of August.
The pain of loosing a child, even though they were an adult is unlike any other pain that I have ever felt before. A part pf me wants to run away for the day, hide and speak to no one. Another part of me says sensibly that I can’t do that because his sisters will probably want to do something.
To put it bluntly I’m a mess but I’ll be ok, that’s what I keep telling myself. It feels like two minutes ago when Joseph entered this world at 7.40am .
Joseph was autistic, dyslexic and he also had a few other conditions, but he was an extremely brave, high functioning individual. He loved living on his own in his flat, and he was the local odd job man, always helping others.
Joseph did also have to fight the DWP every time his PIP and ESA was up for renewal. He attended tribunals and was helped by local organisations and myself. I know that he found this extremely hard to cope with but he did and I’m so proud of him.
This blog post is written in remembrance of Joseph, and all the good that he did in this world. He would have been very happy about this decision.
Please read, share, tweet, email and talk about this blog post and the issues surrounding it. This makes a lot of difference and it helps lots.
Please support my blog and campaign and blog. I don’t receive and funding for what I do and I am still helping families locally with food etc. I really couldn’t continue without your support.
For anyone that would like to donate towards my campaign and blog theres a donate button at the top and side of this blog post.
A huge thank you to everyone that has previously supported my campaign and blog.
Personally I’m trying to make my front garden into a memorial garden for my son and any advice etc is more than welcome!
Many thanks to Benefits and Work for being the inspiration for this post.
A new report recently conducted by Covid Realities at The University of York has revealed that parents and carers are struggling to cope with the costs of school uniforms. The report finds that parents are having to take out crisis loans and other loans in order to pay for their children’s uniform. Other parents are forced to make decisions like having to make the choice to go without healthy food in order to pay for their children’s school uniforms.
In the report it gives examples of how a families father was placed on furlough from his job at the beginning of the pandemic which dramatically cut the family’s income enough so that they qualified for universal credit. Reporting that trying to make ends meet became “a constant battle day by day,”.
The report also states that this family had previously relied on second-hand uniform fairs at their son’s school to buy items for £1 each, but with those fairs were cancelled in lockdown so they were forced to ask family for “a couple of pounds each” so she could buy uniforms.
“He wasn’t going to get uniform otherwise, The kids’ clothing is essential. But when it comes to school uniform, it’s such a high cost for so little time.
“You get a whole list of what they need for PE, which they’re doing once a week. And they’ll grow out of those clothes in three months.”
The report published by Covid Realities quotes that the practice of schools requiring badged uniform from approved suppliers has drastically increased school uniform costs for families. Uniform costs had been driven higher for those in poverty, especially when charity shops were closed during lockdown.
This isn’t the only increase in living costs during the pandemic though, families have faced soaring electricity and gas bills due to families isolating at home. The report reveals that a family of five were forced to go two weeks without heating in the middle of winter just to ensure they could still afford hot water for washing.
At the time of the report an extension was given for the £20 uplift payments for Universal Credit payments saying that facing the cut was “a hell of a big worry, stating “I didn’t know how much more I could take.“We were already not covering the essentials. Taking that £20 away, it was going to be just another thing that we needed in order to live but couldn’t have.
“They’re just delaying the inevitable,” she said of the extension until September. “You’re going to cut it right before winter, when there are extra costs? Leading up to Christmas? The financial problems are going to last a lot longer than the pandemic.”
Now facing the cut their fears are likely to become a reality.
The researchers at Covid Realities and The University Of York are asking that the Government increases monies for families with children plus national guidance on school uniform cost to lessen the financial impact on struggling parents.
A bill which could address this is currently being debated in Parliament.
“Uniform costs often cluster at the start of an academic year, and so for families on a low-income it can be a source of acute anxiety and worry,” said Dr Geoff Page, a research fellow on the Nuffield Foundation-funded Covid Realities programme. “Uniform can be hard to accommodate in precariously balanced budgets, where almost every penny is meticulously accounted for.
“Our participants described a sense of the unmanageable – of living with unmanageable expenses, with school uniform representing another turn of the financial screw.
As the schools break up for the summer holidays, the financial worry of having to pay for children’s school uniform, as well as for food and wellbeing increases. I also feel this stress and to be honest I don’t know how I’m going to manage it.
Many families are as the report states having to make the decision wether to feed their children a decent meal or pay for a piece of their expensive uniform.
The pandemic and the way that the government has handled it has had a detrimental effect upon families and children, causing them to live on a much lower income but still forced to provide the same things.
It’s not always possible to find school uniforms in charity shops or at school swap or donation sites. Each and every child needing school uniform are different sizes which is virtually impossible to replicate in donations and charity shops.
As the report states there needs for it to continue to be debated and acted upon in parliament, otherwise our children and their parents will continue to be let down and made to feel like they’re not good parents.
Please read, share and tweet my blog. It’s important to get the truth out there.
A huge thank you to everyone that reads and supports my blog and campaign. I have plans to continue to hand food parcels and help for people in the community and outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre.
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