David and Sarah had their third child in the summer of 2017. Both of them are self-employed, with David working full time providing bookkeeping services, and Sarah working as a dressmaker. Since they started their family, child tax credits have provided essential support to balance their budget. The family live simply, but have always managed.
With the birth of their third child, life has become more difficult. After the baby’s birth, Sarah took a break from work, and her maternity allowance did not match her loss in earnings. With her third child still a toddler, she is now working but fewer hours than previously. The third child is not eligible for child tax credits. The family’s income is lower, and is stretching to cover an additional child’s needs.
David and Sarah cannot afford daily fresh fruit and vegetables for their children. Small extras like toys and games, or family trips are rare, and a summer holiday would be out of the question. They are paying off a small loan that they took out to cover the cost of replacing a broken washing machine, and are anxious about what other large costs might unexpectedly arise.
Although Sarah and David are stressed about their financial situation, they still hope to have more children in the future. They are a deeply religious couple, and their use of contraception is limited by their religious beliefs. They regard their children as their greatest blessing, and also a source of security in the long term. They believe that although they have current hardship, in the future, their children will be there to help them when they grow old, and to support each other during times of need.
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