She is a single mother, has five jobs and loses almost a monthly salary because of a recovery of the State: “It is a direct exchange”

The calendar on the bedroom wall rebecca kellaway it’s full of highlighted entries, some about her, some about her 10-year-old daughter. Most entries are in blue, each indicating one of the female shifts. Occasionally, there are three entries per day.

rebecca kellaway she is a waitress and carer. and cleaner. And when she’s not going to work, she’s a single mother to her 10-year-old daughter. “It’s a real fight”says the 37-year-old woman, who lives and works in Norwich, England. “The days I only have paid work are my days off.”

Currently she has her main job as a waitress, in addition to working as a babysitter and three times as a cleaner. She says she ended up with several part-time jobs because as a single mother she needed work flexibility to accommodate her daughter’s education, holidays and the availability of daycare services. [pagado].

Rebecca Kellaway is a waitress, babysitter and housekeeperBBC World

But his many jobs had a costhe underlines, because of the rate of government assistance adjustmentwhich decreases the amount paid when a candidate earns more than his “employment assistance”. “I should get £1,000 (US$1,100) in aid (per month), but because of the jobs i do i lose £350 ($389) in adjustmentlike that, directly,” he says.

“For one of the jobs I do, I get £360 ($400) a month, so this is essentially a direct exchange (for the money lost by the adjustment mechanism), missing money”. Although Kellaway’s monthly income may vary, overall they pay him around US$1145. But their benefits are increasingly being consumed by cost of living increase.

Your monthly expenses include:

The oldest price increases, he says, were at the expense of food. “It’s little things, like the purchase of food, which increased by approximately $1.10 per item, which soon adds up. “I use the price scanner at the supermarket to keep track, and soon I come to $55, and then I have to think about what I’m going to pay back.”

“What I need to survive is long-term planning, so I can know what I’ll be doing in a month, because everything you have to budget it to the nearest penny”. Kellaway points out that you do everything possible to reduce your costs. She does the dishes once every three days to limit the amount of hot water she uses, she thinks about every time she wants a cup of tea for the price of electricity to boil her kettle, and she dries her clothes in the middle of the living room bedroom instead of using a dryer. “The stress of worrying about all this, and being a mother, a single mother, plus jobs and things around the house, is just too much.”

Over the past year, Kellaway has saved as much as possible to pay 10th birthday girl. The party, held at a trampoline center, was exactly what her daughter wanted. But the $330 cost meant Kellaway couldn’t afford a big freebie. “I had to say, ‘It’s your gift,’ and she was very understanding and I actually found some money to buy something small,” he says. “But it’s a really bad thing to have to tell a child that you as a parent can’t afford to buy them a present because you’ve spent all the money on a party.” “It shouldn’t be like that.”

Rebecca looks at the family calendar
Rebecca looks at the family calendarBBC World

Kellaway would love to go on vacation, but adds: “It’s not really something real, it’s more of a dream.” “I realize that I can’t afford to buy things like clothes or a new pair of shoes without holes because I know the food money is gone or my daughter could use it for things she needs.”

“I can’t remember the last time I went to a supermarket and bought what I liked without adding up as I went.” “That’s what it all says: after working all those hours, if you don’t have enough money in your account to shop and buy what you want, then there’s bound to be something wrong. not.” “It’s really difficult when your child asks you to buy him a magazine and you have to say ‘no’.”

In this sense, Kellaway admits: “Everyday life it’s very expensive and frustrating”. “Life is even more expensive when you are in poverty because you cannot afford to buy things in bulk.” “It’s a real trap.”

One of the people Rebecca cares for is an artist with multiple sclerosis who painted and gave her a portrait
One of the people Rebecca cares for is an artist with multiple sclerosis who painted and gave her a portraitBBC World

And yet, Kellaway likes to work. “I’m stuck doing pretty low-paying jobs,” she says. He adds: “They are really rewarding, but they don’t pay much.”

On a chair in Kellaway’s bedroom is a painting of her. It was painted by one of the people she cares for, an artist with multiple sclerosis. “The work of caregivers is extremely importantbeing able to support someone in need is a privilege and it really matters, and yet, is a minimum wage”.

If Kellaway received a magic wand, what would he do? “This would remove the adjustment rate (on government aid) so people get paid to work, subsidize childcare properly, and invest a lot of money in schools for breakfast and after school clubs.

“There seems to be an idea that people are just sitting on their asses, but we want to go out and earn a living wage”. Kellaway hopes to retrain as a counselor or psychotherapist in the future. She started her studies last year but the demands of work and motherhood prevented her from doing so.

He says he will try again when his daughter is a bit older.

“I keep myself as happy and busy as possible,” she says. “But when my daughter sleeps, yes, I get really depressed. “I’m really deeply tired.”

By Laurence Cawley of BBC News

BBC World

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