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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Case shows working Furness families face struggle

FURNESS Poverty Commission has released a disturbing case study to highlight the plight of “working poor” families in the area.

The real-life example is symptomatic of the struggle families are having – even when both parents are in work – to make ends meet.

The parents, known as Mr and Mrs B to protect their privacy, have three children – including one with special education needs. All three children are at primary school.

Mr B is a full-time security guard and Mrs B works part-time as a carer. Both are on the minimum wage and receive no housing benefits or council tax concessions.

Just before the end of autumn term, the father approached the school which his children attend to ask for a small short-term loan to buy food for the children’s lunches. The school responded by providing the family with some money.

The previous week, the family’s cooker had broken, leaving them with only a microwave and toaster to prepare meals.

They were forced to raid their Christmas savings to purchase a replacement cooker but the unexpected drain on their budget had left them broke.

Support from both the school and parish church communities has tided the family over for a time, but it is not a permanent solution.

The poverty commission’s director, Greengate Infant School headteacher Caroline Hoggarth, said deprivation was not limited just to the unemployed.

She said that such was the tightrope many families walked with their finances that any sudden expense could tip them into poverty.

“There is a range of poverty among people and that includes people who are both in and out of work,” she said.

“Of the children that are poor nationally, statistics show that 61 per cent have at least one person in the family working.

“So it’s some people on benefits, but it’s mainly people in work but on low incomes. Perhaps one person working in a family that’s really struggling with the cost of living.”

The commission – together with the Evening Mail – launched a survey yesterday in an attempt to gauge the level of poverty in Furness.

The survey can be completed on the Evening Mail’s website, or hardcopies are available from our office in Abbey Road, Barrow.

Have your say

Tony, I know nothing of this particular case, of course, but I do know that schools often have small "hardship funds" to assist families of pupils in desperate situations. Sometimes these funds are provided by grants applied for by the school and there are a few local charities who will top up such funds.

No "agenda" here IMHO, but it seems to be a genuine case of real hardship and I for one feel for Mr and Mrs B.

Posted by Ron C on 14 February 2013 at 09:51

Why on earth would someone struggling to make ends meet turn to a school for a 'short term' loan?

And why does the school have spare cash to loan this couple?

If it's a privately funded school then that is a matter for the school governing body but if its a state funded school, other than an Academy, since when did they have enough cash to operate as a charity.
All Academies are 'registered as charities' it's a 'tax efficient' way of running a school, allegedly.

Something just doesn't ring right about this story you'd think the paper and the public sector employee had an agenda!

Chances of this being printed...?
Next to zero.

Posted by Tony on 13 February 2013 at 18:14

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