The impact of the cost of living crisis on children: Brian's experience

Published on: 
10 June 2022
Written by: 

Brian, Covid Realities

My name is Brian, I am a single parent to one daughter, we live in the south of England and I claim disability benefits. The impact on children due to the rising cost of living is heartbreaking and will have a long term impact on them. Being a single parent with a teenage daughter is tough enough but now we are having to make cutbacks to the bare minimum. My daughter now has to live in a cold, dark home as I am unable to afford the rising cost of gas and electricity, which is having a real impact on her studies during exam times. My daughter is 16 years old and currently studying hard for her GCSEs and looking forward to continuing studies for her A levels after the summer.

During winter we struggle to keep warm as there is no money to buy warm clothes or boots. My daughter feels left out and inadequate not having a new school uniform or shoes. On occasions she has not even been able to buy lunch in the school canteen as the prices have increased and I have no more money to top up her lunch account. It is also not possible for her to engage in after school activities or school trips as the cost is not possible to cover. 

All this is having a lasting impact on the mental health of 3.7 million children’s lives that are living in poverty. There needs to be a fairer system for families on a low income. An extra £10 a week child benefit would be a good start, universal free school meals for all children and an end to charging for after school clubs and activities that all help with their education. These are just some of the solutions that we came up with working together in zoom meetings through the pandemic with other parents living on a low income.

I don’t think this is a lot to ask for, considering the difference this would make to our children’s mental health at such an important time in their lives. They should be enjoying life to the fullest, they should all be treated equally and fairly so they learn to make a better future for themselves and others. Feeling different, left out and not feeling equal to others is not a good start.

Covid Realities is funded by the Nuffield Foundation, but the views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the Foundation.