As a working single mother, life can be a bit tough at the best of times. With added austerity measures, this toughness is multiplied by 100.
I live in Henbury and rent a house that in winter costs upwards of £160 a month to heat due to the fact there is no insulation and only storage heaters. Bear in mind that I only heat two rooms for that amount.
Austerity measures have cemented my inability to move due to increasingly ridiculous rental prices. I am expected to be able to afford upwards of £800 a month for a two-bed property now, a price I simply cannot afford, even with the small percentage of rent that can be paid by my entitlement to housing benefit.
I am not a ‘young professional couple’ as so many ads search for, I’m a single mum to a four year old and I work as many hours as I can as a one-to-one teaching assistant. I have childcare costs because the hours I work mean I can’t drop off or pick up my son myself. It seems ridiculous to me that someone can work so hard, care so much, have so much family support (because I do, I’m blessed with that) and still struggle to get by.
I love my job and strongly believe that it makes a difference and is a very valuable role to play, as are all roles in schools. Children are the future of the country, if they’re not worth investing in, then what is? So why is it that support jobs especially are the ones under jeopardy because of funding cuts and budget restraints imposed by governmental powers who don’t seem to have a clue what it’s actually like to be on the ground?
Children’s educations are suffering directly as a result of austerity. The school my son is due to begin attending next week is set to lose £629 per pupil and seven teachers by 2021 according to www.schoolcuts.org.
This is such a massive loss to not only the school, but also the surrounding community, which is already largely a struggling one.
Something needs to change, the corners being cut by these measures are dangerous and the damage they can do is irreversible. This is without even touching on the closures of local services and how that affects the local community.
I know there is no magic fix, but it seems to be the lower classes and the young who suffer consistently from cuts made and decisions which are passed. Some of the cuts being made are simply unfair and unjust.
Lucy White is a Bristol resident and working single mum who is campaigning against austerity measures. She will be joining thousands of protesters at the Bristol March to End Austerity, starting at midday on College Green on Saturday, September 9.