'Rising cost of living means it's hardly worth me having a job'

Rianne Collins, 27 is at the end of her tether with her flat as she has had nothing but issues since moving in. 

Rianne Collins, 27 is at the end of her tether with her flat as she has had nothing but issues since moving in. - Credit: Rianne Collins

The rising cost of living is being felt by all, but for folk in lower paid jobs the situation is especially challenging - with some questioning whether they would be better off not working at all.

Rianne Collins, 27, is on Universal Credit and works as a part-time carer.

But the squeeze on the cost of living means her pay no longer goes as far as it used to - and she cannot make up the shortfall by working more hours.

The single mum, who lives in NR3, said: "It definitely isn't worth me having a job at all. If I try to do more hours, they deduct money from my Universal Credit so I would end up working for free. I end up losing money through either Universal Credit or childcare so it’s a viscous cycle."

She added: "With the help of Universal Credit and a part time job I am only left with £30 for myself and my daughter after bills. It feels like I’ve hit a brick wall, I hate it.

“I can’t afford to put emergency money away. I am always in my overdraft because I need to make sure we have essentials.” 

Others in lower paid roles are also making tough choices to get by.

Kalum Loftus would welcome the charges as he think it would help to keep the city safer. 

Kalum Loftus would welcome the charges as he think it would help to keep the city safer. - Credit: Sophie Skyring

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Kalum Loftus, who works as a chef in the centre of the city, has said that he has had to change the way he enjoys his free time in order to keep ahead of the rise in the cost of living.

The 29-year-old from Costessey said: “I only use my car when I absolutely need to and I’ve been opting to cook more at home avoiding expensive meals and days out.”

Nicholas Baker, 27, previously worked in hospitality but has had to make a move into a different sector to keep his head above water.  

Nicholas Baker with his corn snake called Waverley, aged five, whose colour is called buttermilk. Pi

Nicholas Baker with his corn snake called Waverley, aged five, whose colour is called buttermilk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

He said: “Hospitality jobs are incredibly underpaid - for spending ten hours on my feet I was paid minimum wage, as well as not being allowed to eat or drink on shift unless I was taking a sip of water hidden from the customers.  

“I live in a two-bed flat, which I pay a mortgage on, and I'd have been unable to afford my bills unless I worked all hours.  

“Rents are often much higher than my mortgage payments too, so I know I'd have struggled so much if I were still renting.” 

Nicholas has now left his hospitality role and moved into finance which has made him feel much more secure.