Cumbria survey reveals daily struggle of poverty
Last updated at 16:13, Monday, 18 March 2013
RESIDENTS have had their say in a survey aimed at identifying the causes and effects of poverty in the Furness area.
Nearly 200 people shared their views and experiences of deprivation in a bid to shape government policy.
The Furness Poverty Commission will include the responses in a study to be tabled in parliament by local MP John Woodcock.
Respondents – young and old, both in and out of work – outlined their struggles and suggested ways for the government to help.
A recurring theme was how wages and benefits had not kept pace with the cost of living.
Soaring gas, electricity and water bills and increases in council tax, rent, fuel and food were all mentioned as huge burdens on budgets.
A 22-year-old unemployed mother exemplified the sentiments of many when she described her family as “just existing”.
“We don’t go out to places, we don’t eat takeaways, we don’t smoke or drink and we don’t have any pets, so why are we so skint and why are we struggling to give our child the best?”
A 51-year-old unpaid carer for her sick husband and two children with mental health needs said she genuinely worried how they would survive.
“I cannot meet the bills and food costs so I put things on my credit card and that bill is just getting higher,” she said.
“My gas bill was double this winter compared to last winter’s. The bedroom tax will probably be the finish of us as a family.”
Some revealed they had been forced to skip meals while others admitted to living largely on junk food and beans on toast.
“Junk food is so much cheaper than making a healthy meal,” one 36-year-old woman said.
Many respondents called on the government and councils to create more jobs.
“Barrow should be doing more to entice big companies to do business here,” a 30-year-old man said.
“Instead, we are slowly becoming a ghost town. Shops and businesses are closing down and moving elsewhere because there is nothing to keep them in Barrow.”
Others, however, questioned whether people, particularly the long-term unemployed, were doing enough to move from welfare to work.
“I think a lot of people are work-shy or are not willing to do certain jobs as they feel it is below them,” a 27-year-old male respondent said.
A lack of affordable childcare in the Furness area was identified as a major factor in keeping mothers out of the workforce.
A 32-year-old mum said: “It’s very hard to find a job at the moment, but it’s even harder to find one with hours that fit in with available childcare that pays enough to be worth it.”
First published at 16:07, Monday, 18 March 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
Why' do women and couples have children when they already
Know we're in deep recession and they are already finding it hard to make
Ends meet? Surely bring another human into the world and another mouth
To feed is crazy, when people already can't afford to live on a daily basis!!
173 respondents becomes 'nearly 200'. Seems you really can play with figures.
It is worth pointing out there are around 60,000 people living in Barrow and over 100,000 living in the Furness are inc Barrow.