Household budgets stretched to the max as eating vs. heating intensifies
Whilst many of us are still gorging on Christmas leftovers (or at least dealing with the consequences of our gluttonous actions) some families are only able to imagine such a feast.
According to charity Magic Breakfast, the provider of free healthy breakfasts to UK primary schools, it is no longer just pupils who turn up to their breakfast clubs for a free meal but their parents and siblings too.
Around 20% of their schemes now see pupils joined by their parents, brothers and sisters as the decision between eating or heating intensifies.
Carmel McConnell is the charity’s founder:
“We [Magic Breakfast] have been around for ten years. For most of that time we had ten or 20 schools on our waiting list. In the last few years things have got unbelievably worse. It went up to 100 earlier in the year  and is now at 190.
“More and more schools are giving out food to parents and siblings. Families have seen the cost of food rise and rise while wages have stayed the same.
“You hear some people talk about whether they can eat or heat their homes and of teachers bringing in food for pupils.”
Last year more than 27,000 people were diagnosed as suffering from malnutrition in Leeds. This demonstrates how dire the situation is with many just a step away from receiving a statutory demand and the real threat of bankruptcy. There could however be a solution as Goldsmith Williams solicitor, Andrew Watson, explains:
“We’re at that time of year when everyone’s finances are a little fragile. However for many having a ‘quiet January’ will do nothing to remedy the situation. Credit and store cards are maxed, mortgages or rent are overdue and energy suppliers have sent their final reminder. It is a terrifying position to be in, knowing that at any moment a statutory demand could land on the mat leaving you just 18 days to miraculously sort out or face bankruptcy.
“It is a story I have sadly heard too many times but one we have been able to resolve in certain cases by either negotiating a reduction or even having the debt set aside completely. Imagine that, a new year without worry and anxiety.”
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Content correct at time of publication