Updated: May 13
Mr and Mrs P* accessed the Money A+E advice service in 2021. Mrs P tells their story.
‘My first priority is to move house. At the moment we have a ‘one-bedroom’ flat. But it isn’t a one-bedroom flat – it’s just one room, like a studio, and we use it as a bedroom, as a dining room, for everything. And it’s a very small room. I have a daughter of 2 years, she is growing and she wants to play, and this is a very small room for her.
I don’t have any cupboards for my clothes. In winter, there are too many clothes – jackets for my baby, for my husband and me. Where can I put them? Where can I put everything?
The main problem for me though is the fridge. When I buy my milk, or something which I should be able to save for two or three days, no – it’ll only last for one or two days.
The fridge is not cold enough, it’s not in good condition and there are cockroaches inside. I clean it all the time, but you know it’s not healthy. My husband told the agency about it many times but they said, ‘you can buy used’.
We can’t move house because we don’t have a deposit. When I called the agencies everyone said that you need one or two months’ rent in advance. I don’t have enough money, no savings to give them the advance. This is the problem.
Anna [Money Coach] helped us with our Universal Credit. After the rent, it gave us just less than £300 to buy everything for all three of us – for food, for clothing, everything. The council tax is £99.
Anna said that we’re entitled to £750/month as a couple, and she’s helping us to change the claim. She told us we could make an application and send it to the council [to reduce Council Tax] and she showed us how to make our other bills lower.
I would recommend Money A+E to other people, 100%. I feel lighter for having talked to [them] and told everything that is in my heart.
My husband has just been given a cleaning job, and soon they will contact him to tell him how many hours and what is the salary. I want it to be above 30 hours, so it might be sufficient for us to change the house and to live a better life.
A new house is still why I want to save money. Slowly, slowly I want to save everything I can.’
Name: Mr & Mrs P* (names have been changed)
Location: Newham, London
Mr P employment status: Unemployed; he has a heart condition and sinus problems that have made finding work difficult during coronavirus.
Mrs P employment status: Full-time mother
Money advice included:
Benefit check – supported to make a joint Universal Credit claim.
Supported to apply for Council Tax Support.
Advised on 50% discount with Thames Water;
Advised on Warm Home Discount on energy bills.
Outcomes of money advice:
If joint Universal Claim is successful, this is expected to result in £460.99 extra per month.
Awaiting outcome of Council Tax Support application.
Potential to increase income, and decrease expenses significantly following guidance on reducing bills.
Figures are correct at time of writing and may be approximate
All images used are stock photos
Service funded by the British Gas Energy Trust