'We'll have to skip meals' - What benefits loss means for Norwich mum
- Credit: Tracey Parrin
"I'd like to see people in government step into my shoes, and go month to month not knowing whether they'll have to starve so their kids can eat."
This is the message from Tracey Parrin, a 39-year-old from Norwich who is set to lose £86 a month under government plans to slash Universal Credit payments.
The £20 weekly uplift was introduced during the pandemic but will come to an end in October.
Here in the city, nearly 15,000 people will lose £1,040 in annual income — with more than 40pc believed to be in employment.
Boris Johnson has dismissed calls to make the uplift permanent, saying: “My strong preference is for people to see their wages rise through their efforts rather than through taxation of other people put into their pay packets."
This was backed by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith who said there was support elsewhere, and called the uplift a sensible temporary part of the response to the pandemic.
Ms Parrin, who can't work due to severe mental health issues, has been on Universal Credit since 2018 and has a two-year-old and a 15 and 16-year-old to look after.
You may also want to watch:
She's been at breaking point in the past, but says the extra money made the world of difference.
Her partner Stuart Pillar works but does not earn enough to feed the whole family. They rely on UC payments to top-up Mr Pillar's salary.
- 1 How Norwich are you? Take our quiz to find out
- 2 Police probing reports Norwich clubbers have been spiked by needles
- 3 'It's very bad'-Trade decline frustration at stores as roadworks take place
- 4 Tudor Stores reopens as manager resigns over safety fears
- 5 Teenagers set to be sentenced over stabbing
- 6 Chantry Place 'close to finalising deals' with four major brands
- 7 'Such a shame': Social media scammer targets Norwich pub
- 8 'Significant' amount of cash and electronics stolen from city home
- 9 Grill van serving gourmet burgers and hot dogs gets residency at city pub
- 10 All of Norwich's Christmas opening hours
Ms Parrin explained: "Before the uplift, it felt like we were robbing Peter to pay Paul.
"We were borrowing money to get by, and relying on food parcels from the school my kids go to.
"The extra money meant we could get in more of the essentials from the weekly shop, like bread and milk, and nappies and wipes for my two-year-old.
"Since we got the extra money I haven't had to go without food so my kids can eat. But I can see us going back that way."
Ms Parrin said her children's school had been fantastic — and had provided them with laptops and uniforms so the children wouldn't go without.
But she explained: "I want people in power to step into my shoes. They have no idea what it's like for folk like us.
"We've had to sit the kids down and explain to them what might happen if we lose this money. It's horrible to think about."