Struggling mum begs MPs to 'step into her shoes' over benefits cut

A new foodbank has been set up in The Living Studio at the Adat Yeshua synagogue in Essex Street, No

The Adat Yeshua synagogue in Essex Street, Norwich. Picture: The Living Studio - Credit: Archant

A Norwich mum is pleading with the government not to cut over £1000 worth of her benefits — warning that parents may end up having to starve so their children can eat.

Tracey Parrin, 39 from Norwich, said she used to go month to month not knowing whether she'd be able to put food on the table before the government introduced a £20-a-week uplift in Universal Credit.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stressed the benefits boost was a response to the pandemic only, 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."

Across Norfolk, nearly 70,000 people will lose £1,040 a year due to the cut, which will come into force in October. 

Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis said the move would plunge thousands into poverty, but was backed by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker, who said the economy was improving and the focus was now on creating jobs

Tracey Parrin (right) said the £20 uplift had made the world of difference to her family over the pandemic

Tracey Parrin (right) said the £20 uplift had made the world of difference to her family over the pandemic - Credit: Tracey Parrin

But Ms Parrin, who can't work due to 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.

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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.

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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.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

"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."

She added: "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." 

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