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Food for thought

by CllrZoeFranklin on 31 January, 2012

Last Tuesday I joined a selection of local residents and professionals working in the Stoke area for a Community Lunch organised by St Peter’s Church. These lunches are an opportunity to find out what’s going on in the local area, meet other people who care deeply about Stoke and have a change to hear a talk on and discuss a topical issue. On this ocassion the topic was the challenges facing low income working families, led by Jo Tester from Guildford Action.

The session was excellent with Jo talking us through a financial casestudy of a family of four where one adult is working for the minimum wage and the other is staying home to look after young children. I will be honest – it was a real eye-opener as it showed that paying for just the essentials the family would be short of over £150 every month.

It became clear to me as I listened to Jo that this kind of scenario presents huge challenges to families both in terms of what they can cut in order reduce the monthly spend but also what they are forced not to buy. Spending on leisure activities, schools trips, etc would potentially have to be avoided just to make ends meet. It also highlighted the pull of high-interest payday loans to enable families to make ends meet each month.

The discussion was equally eye-opening with the group discussing things from how can we as a community and as people working in the area help to the potential impact on low income working families of a cap on benefits.

As I say, food for thought…

If you or your family have experience of working and living on a low income and would be willing to talk to me about it with the view of finding ways to help others living in our community please drop me a line. (I’m happy to keep any contact anonymous.)

Images: www.freeimages.co.uk

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