A mother-of-two Charlotte from Cambridge had to live on just £5 a day child benefit after fleeing abuse with her two children – eight-year-old and Courtney and six-year-old Nathaniel James.
After being diagnosed with a serious mental health condition, the mother and her two children waited five weeks for Universal Credit, had to skip meals or went to a foodbank.
She even had to put her daughter to bed in a coat for warmth.
Charlotte said: “I felt like I was living in third world country, I had so little money.
I had to make tough choices between paying to heat the flat, or buying food for the kids.I’d get down to my last few pence and have nowhere to turn. Sometimes I’d go without food to make sure the kids ate – they always came first. ”
“A lot of people are just one crisis away from living below the breadline. We were OK before I had to move. The flat in Cambridge had three bedrooms, and I was told my children should be sharing a room, so had to pay an extra £75 in bedroom tax. I had to take a loan out to pay for food for Christmas and to pay my rent and bills. I got behind on rent while waiting for my first Universal Credit payment. We had nothing. It was hell.”
The family had to move to Hull as it was too expensive for them to live in Cambridge. She could then save more than £200-a-month in rent and was able to spend that money on food and bills.
The heartbreaking story of the family was featured in Dispatches: Growing Up Poor: Britain’s Breadline Kids.
Dispatches: Growing Up Poor: Britain’s Breadline Kids also showed the heartbreaking story of a teenager named Danielle who was struggling to study for her GCSEs while living in a bedsit with her mum Jodi and sister. was unable to pay for electricity and was forced to revise by candlelight.
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