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Mother-of-four left in tears at having to choose between food or gas

By Lottie Kilraine

A mother-of-four has described how she “broke down in tears” having to pick between food and gas, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to pile pressure on families.

Phoenix, who chose not to disclose her surname, from Crystal Palace in south-east London, said her children are being denied simple things like sweets due to the cost.

The 33-year-old told the PA news agency: “There’s been so many times where I’ve just broken down in tears because of having to choose between gas or food.

It's enough to make you not want to be here anymore

Phoenix

“My children are being denied the small things in life, like having a sweet from the shop. It’s not nice having to say no to your children.

“It has affected my emotional wellbeing… it’s enough to make you not want to be here anymore.”

Phoenix was diagnosed with diabetes earlier this year and has been struggling to provide for her four children, who are aged between four and 15.

She relies on benefits and said the rising cost of living has affected everything, including her children’s education.

“I’ve gone without gas for three or four days because I’ve gone from putting on £10-£15 a week, to having to put on £30-£40 every four days,” she said.

Phoenix, a mother-of-four, has described how she “broke down in tears” having to pick between food and gas. (Phoenix/PA)

“That is a lot of money to be putting on, the rising costs just affect everything in your life, whether you’re on benefits or not.

“Even with petrol, £20 used to get me around 100 miles but these days I get around 70-80 miles maximum and then it’s gone.

“I have a lot of health problems at the moment and I’ve had days where I have to walk my kids to school which has made them late, or they’ve had to miss whole days.”

Households are facing soaring energy bills, inflation is forecast to hit 10% and welfare payments and wages are falling far behind the increase in prices.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister came under fire over a lack of short-term measures in the Queen’s Speech to help people facing soaring costs.

In response, he warned the Government cannot “completely shield” people from the rising cost of living.

Phoenix said the lack of support has left her feeling “helpless” and she criticised the Government.

She said: “I feel like (the Government) is not helping and I feel like they are playing games with us.

“I think if they had kept to their promises up until now, we probably wouldn’t even be in this situation, but they always give us false hope.

“I’ll be so honest, if I had known everything I know now back then, I probably would have chosen not to have children.

“I feel helpless and I wouldn’t want them to live this life.”

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