HARRY’S STORY: It’s either heat, or eat

‘I had to choose between heating and eating, and as a result spent most evenings with a sleeping bag’

By Alexandra Bánfi   |   Reporter   |
Friday 17th June 2022 11:53 am
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Harry Hayfield
Harry Hayfield (Cambrian News )

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“I was a carer between 2005 and 2021 when as a result of the pandemic, my grandparents (who adopted me as a baby and who I have lived with all my life) died between February 2021 and December 2021. Because of this, even though I was a carer during the pandemic I am not allowed to claim the £500 from the Welsh Government for being a carer during the pandemic.

“Prior to receiving my share of their estate I was receiving the maximum amount of Universal Credit (£320) but thanks to now having savings in the eyes of the UK Government my claim is now valued at £160 (which is paid monthly at an average rate of £40 a week).

“The fact that I am expected to use savings (at the same time the UK Government says “We may not be in a position to provide you with a state pension, therefore you have to plan your own”) is in my opinion stupid in the extreme.A

“s a result of this I have had to restrict anything I can to the most extreme extent. This includes from the day that my grandmother left my care, I switched everything off electrical I could find and then only switched things on when I had to use them. This made my electricity bill £30 a month instead of close to £300 (which I still had to pay) when I was a carer thanks to all the electrical devices need to care for my grandmother and for the remainder of 2021 I was able to manage.

“However as soon as the energy cap increase happened, it became clear that I would have to make further sacrifices and during the winter, even though I was following Welsh government advice on ventilation by keeping a window open, I had to choose between heating and eating, and as a result spent most evenings with a sleeping bag around me to keep comfortable.

“As a result of a friend of mine hearing about this, I have made a claim for PIP (Personal Independence Payments) which, if successful, will go a long way to helping, but have to say the fact that someone outside the welfare system has made me aware of this welfare scheme is disgraceful and both the UK and Welsh Secretaries that deal with social welfare programmes should hang their heads in shame.”

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