Time to stop penalising the poor

As someone who has struggled most of my life in poverty, I didn’t realise until I became a Fair By Design Ambassador that many of the reasons for my struggle had a name. The name is the Poverty Premium. Its affected me all my life and everyone else I know around me.

With shopping I was luckier than most, my mum and dad would take me shopping in their car. Only the best of the best for my family it had to be Aldi and Farmfoods, £35 in the first £15 in the second. My mates on the estate have to either factor taxi fares into their shopping bill or live out of the corner shop, costing them a fortune more than I ever paid. Our Friday night treat would be watching TV, praying that the TV licensing van wasn’t on the estate, because I’d just used the license money on chocolate for the kids. We spent years wrapped up in our duvets and getting comfy with our pillows snuggled up till bedtime. I never had the heart to tell them their snuggly fun time with mum had saved me from putting the heating on because we were already on the emergency. This is still the day to day reality for millions.

Everyone who survives day to day lives in fear of their washing machine, fridge or cooker breaking down, as just going out and buying another one is impossible. The social fund was available back in the day and if you priced your claim in line with the Argos catalogue prices, you were pretty much guaranteed to get it. Paying back that loan was never a problem because you only paid back what you borrowed with no added interest. It was a godsend, but its now gone.

14 million people in the UK are currently living in poverty, struggling on less than £17,000 a year. Some of them work, some are disabled, and some are benefit dependent. 4 million of that total are children. So many people going without the basics such as food and heating to be able to cope with the rising cost of being poor. It’s been identified that there are 29 different types of Poverty Premium; I’ve already mentioned but a few of them.

So, this thing I didn’t know existed but now has a name, is a driver of my, and so many others’ poverty, and it’s now being called out. It’s about time for it to come to an end because it’s totally unfair. That’s why I am so glad to be part of the Fair By Design movement, saying it’s hard enough struggling through life if you are poor, so why on top of that should being poor cost more?