It’s been a year and a half since her troubled husband left the family, leaving Sally to look after their five children alone.
The youngest of the girls is only three, and 11-year-old son Connor (“obsessed with computers”) is autistic.Five children. And why not? Not only does she not pay, we pay her to have them!
And it gets even better:
For Sally, it was back in September 2015 that it first started. Her husband had been gone five months – taking any wage, as well as the working tax credits he brought in, with him – and she was struggling to stretch what they had left.He was on a wage so low the governm... no, wait, you and I... made up the difference! What a catch, Sally!
For a family such as Sally’s, losing this money adds to what is already a struggle. On the 10th floor of a tower block, all six are crammed into a one-bed flat. Four of the children sleep in the one bedroom; two have a single bed and two share another; Sally sleeps in the sitting room, with her toddler next to her.Yes, well, that's a consequence of expecting the State to be husband to your brood. You go where they'll put you.
Without the child tax credits, she’s had to go back to using Connor’s disability living allowance (DLA) to pay for small meals. “It’s very hard to get enough money for food,” she says. “We don’t eat much. Rice. Fish. Maybe chips.”Disability living allowance isn't for food. Nor is it for fripperies:
The DLA used to go on things like console games for Connor (what for other children is a treat is, to him, a rigid routine that calms him). He cries when his mum reminds him they can’t afford it now. An autistic child doesn’t understand benefits being stopped, says Kim. “It’s just, ‘Mummy won’t let me play with it’.”I confess, I stopped reading there. I mean, given governmental incompetence, there must be some genuine cases of 'no fault' hardship out there.
So why does it seem as if Frances Ryan and the 'Guardian' can't find any?