NEW BENEFITS HAVE FAILED TO IMPROVE CATHERINE'S
Single parent Catherine Hayward, 24, from the
Wirral has two children aged three and six. She says she has to
save up for months if she wants to buy them a new pair of shoes.
The family have not had a holiday in the past four years.
Catherine says she can't afford to live on the
£128 she receives in benefits each weekand none of
the benefits which have been introduced in the past four years
have significantly improved her life. In her opinion her family's
situation has changed little since Tony Blair made his claim to
eradicate child poverty.
Christmas creates even more financial pressures
for the family. A few years ago she took out a £300 loan
to pay for presents and a new carpet for her house. The loan came
from a private loan company charging a 29% interest rate. Catherine
isn't sure how long it took to pay off the loan, but recalls it
was "a long time".
Living on such a tight budget means the family
has to sacrifice some essentials to make ends meet. Most of the
time it's new clothessometimes even food.
Catherine's youngest child is due to start
nursery in a couple of months. Catherine is then hoping to get
a job, but knows she will have to find out if there is any support
or tax credits available to help with child minding expenses.