Disabled single mum skips meals and uses her oven as heater due to soaring bills


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Disabled single mum Bex and her six-year-old son haven’t put the heating on since their bills rose in April – and now Bex has resorted to skipping meals to save on gas and electricity costs

A disabled single mum is skipping meals and has stopped using her central heating altogether due to soaring utility bills – and yet considers herself “one of the lucky ones.”

27-year-old Bex Kitchen, who suffers from autism and can only work a limited number of hours due to her condition, is “just about scraping by” to support both herself and her six-year-old son.

The student support worker from Cambridgeshire says she has no choice but to spend her disability benefits on household bills, but is still struggling to afford her weekly food shop.

And rising costs means Bex feels unable to give her son “an enriching education and childhood’, as he requires additional needs and has been forced to give up the extra curricular clubs he attends in addition to being home educated.






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She told the Mirror: “It’s impacting absolutely everything.

“When my son visits his Dad’s every other weekend, I’ll only have one meal. I don’t bother putting anything on the hob because I’d rather save on electric and gas costs.”

“We’re doing all the standard things like not having the heating on. We’re wrapped up in blankets, and when we do cook something, we’ll leave the oven door open to warm the house up.

“If it’s bad enough that I have to go to the shops with a calculator to make sure I’m not overspending, that’s obviously not great. But I’m also aware that my struggle pales in comparison to others.”






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The single mum says that she and her are lived in “dire poverty” for the first three years of his life.

If it wasn’t for their combined disability benefits, she fears things would be much worse for both of them.

“I get Personal Independence Payment and my son gets Disability Living Allowance for children, and if I’m honest, it does not go towards any disability needs.

“It just goes into the household bills. If we didn’t have that, we would be really struggling.

As a result, Bex has made a meticulous effort to keep her energy costs low, which means keeping the lights and television turned off almost every day.

“I’m so meticulous about how much we use. I don’t even let my kid have the bathroom light on.

“We have limits on screen time, we use low energy light bulbs, and the TV and fridge are the only two things we have plugged in.”






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With energy prices expected to rise again in October, Bex fears that she and her son will be plunged straight back into poverty.

She told the Mirror: “That’s what worries me the most. My gas and electric has been in debit for the first time in two years, only by a few pounds, but I’m starting to panic.

“A couple of years ago, when my son wasn’t getting DLA and I wasn’t working due to mental health issues, I had arrears on everything. I had arrears on council tax, I had arrears on gas and electric. I had rented arrears.

“It took a lot of work to get out of there, and I’m terrified of going back to that. Absolutely terrified of going back to that.”

“I’m sitting here saying I’m in a more privileged position than others, but I shouldn’t feel like I’m privileged just for scraping by”, she added.






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Bex believes that it is the government’s responsibility to step up and act soon, otherwise the most vulnerable groups in society, including the disabled and elderly, will suffer detrimentally.

“They’re basically killing people. They’re certainly killing people that I know and love.

“I worry about my elderly grandparents. If they’re so worried about putting the heating on, it’s going to exacerbate any existing health conditions they’ve got. And they’re going to die sooner.

“And that is honestly how I feel. The government are killing people like this. They’re killing people through neglect.”

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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