A MUM on Universal Credit says she has dropped THREE dress sizes as can’t afford to buy food to eat.
Kelly Thomson, 43, explained she has been struggling to get by on just £40 a week and fears she “may have to resort to begging”.
Worried mum Kelly Thomson, 43, can’t afford food , clothes or heat for her familyCredit: SWNS
She has been forced to budget her benefits since getting long Covid in December 2020 and being signed off from her cleaning job.
But as the cost of living for Brits continues to soar, the single mum from Slough, Berkshire, is penny-pinching even more.
Although Universal Credit covers her £1,300 monthly rental and a few other costs, Kelly says she has around £160 a month left to live on.
She claims she used to spend £12 a week on electricity but, after recent energy cost rises, she uses that much in four days.
And Kelly says she can’t bear to look at her gas meter – and dreads the bill coming in, because she won’t be able to pay it.
The 43-year-old has lost a whopping two stone in weight leaving her clothes drowning her, as she says she can only afford to eat once a day.
Kelly, who has a son, 14, and daughter, 11, said: “The cost of living is crazy now and I don’t know what I’m going to do.
“We have nothing. I honestly feel I’m going to have to resort to begging. We’re hungry all the time and my clothes are falling off me.
“I can’t afford to buy any more. We can’t afford a social life or even to put music on or watch TV, and our mental health is really suffering.
“We just go for walks and play board games.”
Cash strapped Kelly claims she and her young children endure four-day stretches without power last winter – before the price rise.
The trio kept warm by candlelight and cuddling up in bed together, while neighbours heat up their food.
“I was wearing a vest, long-sleeve top, a hoodie and dressing gown, with tights and leggings under my jeans”, Kelly said.
“We had tights under our pyjamas.”
The desperate mum even took the family TV and her daughter’s Smart TV that she was given for her birthday to Cash Converters so she could buy some food.
ON THE BREADLINE
The kids or Kelly haven’t had any new clothes since January last year, leaving her son to head to school in short trousers and stained shirts.
The mum is used to living on a budget, and tops up from the food bank but says she now can’t afford to feed the family.
She feeds her children breakfast, they get lunch in school and then the family-of-three share an evening meal.
The thrifty mum also makes her own cleaning products from household items such as vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda to keep costs down.
Kelly says her shopping trips consist of her scouring the shelves for yellow-label products and stashing any bargains in her freezer.
She continued: “I’m lucky if I get a meal a day. I just get up each morning and get on with it because I have to, I do it for my kids.
“I’m so worried and I cry every day. I’m so frightened I’m going to lose my mind, and I used to be such a happy person.
“I’m worried for my health, I’m faint with hunger all the time. I’ve fought and fought and I just don’t know what to do any more.
We have nothing. I honestly feel I’m going to have to resort to begging. We’re hungry all the time and my clothes are falling off me.
“I’m not asking for luxury, just to be able to pay the bills and eat.
“I worked for 25 years paying National Insurance, and my parents paid all their lives. I just don’t know what’s happening in England any more.
“Boris and the government need to step in and help us – they hand out billions to others and we’re starving, we’re only just surviving now.”
The distraught 43-year-old said her £1,271 rent for her three-bed house means her allowances exceed £2,000.
This means money is taken off her because of the benefit cap.
Kelly receives £325 standard allowance, and £520 child support, but after her rent is paid Kelly said she has £600 deducted because she claims child benefit of £35 a week.
Another £80 a month goes on two loans she took to buy a bed when they moved, and council tax she couldn’t pay.
After all the deductions Kelly is left with £161 a month for utility bills, council tax, food and clothes, she said.
It comes as the official inflation rate reached 7% last month amid a record increase cost of living.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the latest rise in the consumer prices index was the fastest in three decades.