Qualitative case studies of how real people are managing the Cost of Living Crisis is a useful way to provide insight into the reality of poverty in the UK in 2022, adding some necessary depth to poverty statistics which can be rather inhuman.
A very useful contemporary resource which does just this is a recent documentary from Panorama which aired in April 2022 and is called simply ‘Surviving the Cost of Living Crisis‘.
The documentary follows three working families – two two parent families and one single mum. All the individuals in the documentary have decent jobs and some even bring in the median income in the UK but all are living in relative poverty and having to make difficult decisions around how to spend their money.
One family earns £2000 a month, but after the mortgage, bills and food they are left with £63 a month to spend – which would just about cover a meal out for the family. The father of this family has a 75 mile round trip to work every day and they have found rising fuel prices recently have taken up a lot of their spare cash.
Another of the case studies is a single mum who works part time as a nurse – she can’t work more than three days because she can’t afford the cost of child care – and besides being employed she is dependent on food banks and hand-outs from friends. After her mortgage she is left with £80 a week fork food and everything else for her and her three children.
The documentary shows the dilemma of ‘heating or eating’ with some families having to stretch a few pounds on an electric or gas metre out for several days – expensive key metres don’t help here.
The adults of these families are going without food – one husband eats only one meal a day for example. And this causes stress to older children – who are aware that their parents are going without food and possibly say they are not hungry when they really are in order to make sure their parents eat more.
The documentary does a good job of showing how much stress being in poverty causes is also clearly a good deal of anxiety around future price rises and how they are going to cope.
The Video is available on YouTube here, at time of writing, but I don’t know how much longer it will stay up!
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