Families face the pinch as price rises start to bite

STRUGGLING Tracey Diaper with her children, from left, Freddie, Reggie, Barney and Morgan. Picture: Malcolm Wells (13515-1474)
STRUGGLING Tracey Diaper with her children, from left, Freddie, Reggie, Barney and Morgan. Picture: Malcolm Wells (13515-1474)
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EVERY Thursday evening Tracey Diaper finds that her cupboards are empty.

Living on the breadline as a mother to four children, she finds life a struggle.

She is just one of many people across the area struggling to get by as the cost of living goes up.

It comes as figures released yesterday show that more than a quarter of children in Portsmouth are living in poverty.

Single mum Tracey, 42, from Hyde Park Road in Southsea, said: ‘I’m struggling with food and heating. It costs me a fortune to heat the place up.

‘Sometimes I get really low on food. Everything has gone up in price including things like bread and milk.

‘Everything has gone up but our money isn’t going up.’

Tracey receives £280 a week in child benefits and £49 a week in a disability living allowance for her seven-year-old son Reggie Miller, who suffers from prune belly syndrome – a rare genetic disease which means that the abdominal muscles don’t develop very well.

‘By Thursday I have got nothing,’ Tracey added. ‘I’m out of money. I’ve got nothing in my cupboard. I have to ask for handouts or go to my mum or to friends.

‘It upsets me but I don’t let my kids see that. You put on a brave face.’

The information has been collated by charity Campaign to End Child Poverty.

Overall, the figures say that in Portsmouth 27 per cent of children are in poverty.

Children are classified as being in poverty if they live in families receiving out of work benefits or in-work tax credits where their reported income is less than 60 per cent of median income.

This is when a family of four are living on a salary of less than £18,200.

The Portsmouth Family Welfare Association which hands out clothes, household items and food to people in need, has seen 80 per cent more children needing support in the last four months, than on the same period last year, and 253 children have asked for support.

Chairwoman Jenny Johns said: ‘We had a massive problem with the change in benefits. People have lost their jobs and they are really struggling. I can’t see things getting any better. It’s absolutely appalling and unacceptable. You do what you can to try and help these people to fulfil a need but it’s getting worse.’

In Fareham, 11 per cent of children are classed as being in poverty, Gosport is higher with 21 per cent and Havant higher still with 24 per cent.