Paul's story

Paul lives with his wife and three young children in Weston-super-Mare, where he works full-time as a baker. The two-child limit, combined with other cuts to their housing benefit, has left them struggling just to pay for the basics. Despite cutting back where they can, sometimes bills have to go unpaid: ‘You have to pay for bills, but with water bills, you think I’ll have to pay next month but obviously it does get a bit out of control and you do end up having to pay back two months…We always try and cut back and save where we can…like turning the lights off but there’s not a great deal of money every month’. Paul and his wife have also had to borrow from family and friends.

Money worries have taken their toll on the family and caused considerable stress, particularly at expensive times of year, as he describes: ‘For myself and for my partner [they feel] the stress and that of it, you get to Christmas time and it is really difficult.’

If the two child limit were removed, Paul would be able to keep up with the cost of clothes for his growing children and also afford things beyond the bare essentials, which he feels would make a huge difference to the lives of his children: ‘If you had that extra £20 you could go on a day out somewhere’. The family would also be able plan their finances more, so they would not have to get into debt or rely on friends and family when unexpected costs came up: ‘If it was just a bit more money, then you could actually have some in reserve for emergencies or something so you wouldn’t actually have to borrow money from anybody’.


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