01 June 2022

Not enough: a response to the cost of living support package

I am a bit nonplussed on hearing the Chancellor’s statement on the cost of living crisis. I don’t always understand what the terminology is, but I get the gist. Yet however hard I try right now, I cannot get this straight: is he taxing the energy companies, to give it to us, to give it back to them?

I live the reality of poverty, every minute of every day, with my 12 year old son. We are not on the point of losing our home - yet. We’ve been there before, and worse, but this time I am preparing us for what is coming. I’m buying less, making things last longer, and involving my son. This is not easy. He understands the situation, and I am unutterably proud of him. But his shoes no longer fit and now he’s bigger his clothes cost more, and I’m not sure where I can find that money right now. Every time I shop or look at my bank statement, I think: so what will I ration next? What can feasibly go from our lives so we don’t lose our pitiful emergency fund, and then our home?

I am sitting here tonight, wondering why we are offered yet another performative and short-term scheme which has nothing in it to give us genuine, long term, recovery hope. It won’t pay every bill, and it won’t last for very long at all. I am furious, but feel like I have to acknowledge it is at least something. It is expected of me, and I don’t want to appear as a pauper in a Dickensian novel begging for more!

But to me this feels as temporary as the universal credit uplift. It will be taken away, and then it will be next year and people will shout at us and humiliate us for not managing our ‘free money’ better. We hear a lot about economic recovery. But if you haven’t got longevity and consistency in your income we cannot expect our households and communities to recover. This is just not enough.

We have low wages, low benefits, low incomes. Yet still we are fed the nasty narrative that we need to work harder, longer, and unpaid care does not count. Disability rights and equal rights are minimised and quietly disappeared. It's all become so normal, no one seems surprised, or even to notice.

I have nothing left to tell my son, so I don’t sugarcoat this anymore. I tell him exactly who is responsible for this and how we are going to fight it. I will not stand by, silent, as a government does this to people. I know so many other people now raising their children in the truth. Politicians had better understand that we are raising tomorrow’s activists, they are living your decisions, and things change, the generations moving up and yet to come will absolutely set the record straight.

Photo by Peter Bond on Unsplash
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