A single mother says she thought about killing her seven-year-old son and herself because her Universal Credit payments are so low. Speaking to the Daily Mirror, the woman said she fled an abusive relationship and moved to Manchester with her son in order to give him a better life. She relies on Universal Credit payments to be able to feed and clothe her child but claims the payments don’t go far enough.
Within weeks of moving out alone, she said she had no money left and was contemplating sex work to make ends meet. Last month she even considered suicide because she could see no way of paying to feed her son – and admits she regularly doesn’t eat during the day to be able to scrape together enough for an evening meal.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, told the Daily Mirror: ‘I’ve never been so low in my whole life. ‘A few months ago I was going to kill myself and my son because I couldn’t deal with it. ‘But when I go and pick my boy up from school and he smiles at me, it builds me and I think “I can’t do that to him – I’m not a killer”. ‘I’ve been to the doctor and I’m on antidepressants and they’re helping but I feel like I’m just in a nightmare. ‘Every month my money comes in and within the week it’s gone. ‘And I don’t have anything for the next three weeks, I’ve got nothing to feed my son.’
The mother gets £1,000 a month on Universal Credit but says it doesn’t stretch to cover her £850 rent as well as bills and food. She is worried about how she is going to pay to heat her home as the days get colder and she relies on food banks each month because she regularly ends up in arrears, she said.
Currently hunting for a job, the single mum has so far been unable to find a position that will work around her son’s school hours. She has no fall-back either – despite initially being told she could access an advance payment of around £800 when she needed it and then pay back in her monthly payments. After taking some money from it while waiting for her first payment, she says her access was revoked, leaving her without any financial security.
A DWP spokesperson said: ‘The reasons why people use food banks are complex, so it’s wrong to link a rise to any one cause. ‘Mental health is a key priority and we’re committed to ensuring people get the support they need, which is why we’re spending a record £11billion this year in England.
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