I’m on Universal Credit and I’ve dropped THREE dress sizes because I can’t afford food

A mom on Universal Credit says she’s lost THREE dress sizes because she can’t afford to buy food to eat with.

Kelly Thomson, 43, said she’s struggling to get by on just £40 a week and worries she “might have to resort to begging”.

Concerned mother Kelly Thomson, 43, cannot afford food, clothes or heating for her family


Concerned mother Kelly Thomson, 43, cannot afford food, clothes or heating for her familyPhoto credit: SWNS

She has been forced to budget for her services since she became long ill with Covid and was signed off from her cleaning job in December 2020.

But as the cost of living for Brits continues to rise, the single mother from Slough, Berkshire, is stingy even more.

although universal credit to cover her £1,300 a month rent and a few other expenses, Kelly says she has about £160 a month left to live on.

She claims she used to spend £12 a week on electricity but with energy costs soaring lately she uses that much in four days.

And Kelly says she can’t stand looking at her gas meter — and dreads the bill that’s coming in because she can’t pay it.

The 43-year-old has lost a whopping two stone in weight and her clothes are drowning her as she can only afford to eat once a day.

Kelly, who has a son, 14, and a daughter, 11, said: “The cost of living is crazy now and I don’t know what to do.

“We have nothing. I honestly feel like I have to beg. We’re hungry all the time and my clothes are falling off.

“I can’t afford to buy any more. We can’t afford to socialize or put on music or watch TV, and our mental health really suffers.

“We just go for a walk and play board games.”

Cash-strapped Kelly claims she and her young children endured four days without electricity last winter – before the price hike.

The trio kept warm by candlelight and snuggled up in bed together while the neighbors warmed up their food.

“I was wearing a vest, long sleeve top, hoodie and robe, with tights and leggings under my jeans,” Kelly said.

“We had tights under our pajamas.”

The distraught mum even brought her daughter’s family TV and smart TV, which she received for her birthday, to Cash Converters so she could buy some groceries.


The kids, or Kelly, haven’t had any new clothes since January last year, leaving their son to go to school in shorts and a stained shirt.

The mother is used to living on a budget and replenishes groceries from the food bank, but says she can’t afford to support the family now.

She feeds her children breakfast, they get lunch at school, and then the family of three shares dinner.

The frugal mom also makes her own cleaning supplies from household items like vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda to keep costs down.

Kelly says her shopping sprees consist of scouring the shelves for yellow-labeled products and stashing any bargains in her freezer.

She continued, “I’m lucky if I get a meal every day. I just get up every morning and keep going because I have to, I’m doing it for my kids.

“I’m so worried and I cry every day. I’m so scared I’m going out of my mind and I used to be such a happy person.

“I worry about my health, I’m weak from hunger all the time. I’ve fought and fought and just don’t know what to do anymore.

We have nothing. I honestly feel I have to resort to begging. We’re hungry all the time and my clothes fall off.

Kelly Thomson

“I don’t ask for luxury just to be able to pay the bills and eat.

“I worked and paid national insurance for 25 years, and my parents have paid their entire lives. I just don’t know what’s happening in England anymore.

“Boris and the government have to step in and help us – they’re handing out billions to others and we’re starving, we’re just surviving.”

The distraught 43-year-old said her £1,271 rent for her three-bed house means her allowances exceed £2,000.

This means that money will be deducted from her because of the benefit cap.

Kelly receives £325 standard allowance and £520 in child benefit, but after her rent was paid, Kelly said she deducted £600 because she claims child benefit of £35 a week.

Another £80 a month accounts for two loans she took out to buy a bed when they moved and council taxes she was unable to pay.

After all the deductions, Kelly is left with £161 a month for utility bills, council taxes, groceries and clothing, she said.

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It comes as the official inflation rate hit 7% last month amid a record rise in the cost of living.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the most recent rise in the consumer price index was the fastest in three decades. I’m on Universal Credit and I’ve dropped THREE dress sizes because I can’t afford food

Bobby Allyn

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