‘I can’t remember the last time I had a hot meal’

Denise Gun, 57, works at a Chell Area Family Action Group creche in Stoke-on-Whitfield Trent’s Valley Centre. Ms Gun sought financial guidance from Potteries Moneywise after asking local friends on Facebook where she might receive food assistance.

Ms. Gun explained, her refrigerator is empty, and her pocketbook has been empty for months. She never has enough cash to go out for a drink or enjoy a small treat – that’s just a fantasy anymore.

Lloyd Myatt, a financial counsellor from Potteries Moneywise, holds frequent budgeting seminars. He stated that the cost of living problem was causing them to encounter a different demography than the regular client we tend to meet.

He explained, they’re encountering people in that medium income band, not the ones that may be seeking some form of assistance.

Mum-of-two Julie Jackson has altered her spending habits in order to stretch her money further. She explained they have begun buying meat in bulk from the slaughterhouse instead of shops. Ms Jackson explained her boyfriend now takes a scooter to work rather than driving. 

The price of fueling a typical family vehicle with petrol reached £100 for the first time on Thursday. The AA and the RAC have both requested the chancellor to decrease fuel duty or reduce VAT on petrol.

The local newsagent is located on Fegg Hayes Road, just down the road from the centre. The owner stated that inhabitants had become accustomed to budgeting in the 30 years he has lived in the city.

“Budgeting isn’t new; people have always done it here; if you have a restricted income, you’ve been doing it for a long time,” he explained.

However, he noted that he has witnessed a shift in client spending, particularly among those who use pre-loaded gas and electricity cards.

Individuals who used to come in once a week were now coming in two or three times a week, but not loading as much, rather putting “£3 or £4 on a day.”

Tom, who works at the centre, is now unable to work owing to health issues. He claims that his debts are piling up as he strives to pay his payments.

“I’m £900 in debt [for power], and they want me to pay about £100 a month,” he explained.

He also stated that he does not use the heater, even when it is quite cold, but rather dresses in many layers and a dressing robe. He described himself as “ashamed and disturbed.”

Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, stated last month that all UK households will get a £400 stipend beginning in October.

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