‘I can live off toast’: The young mother making difficult decisions to survive cost of living crisis

  • Amber Davies speaks to Y Pris o Fyw about trying to make ends meet through the cost of living crisis.

A young mother from Swansea has said she is having to make difficult decisions to ensure her baby doesn't go hungry as she spoke about the struggles to cope with the cost of living.

Amber Davies, 23, has recently had to leave her job as a researcher due to problems with her disability and growing financial concerns.

"I'm worried about the cost of living crisis, we’re just surviving," said Amber Davies to ITV Cymru in Hansh's new current affairs documentary, “Y Pris o Fyw” (The Cost Of Living).

"I was working 40 hours a week, on top of being a mother with a disability, so how can I work harder?"

Her monthly outgoings including bills, food, energy, electricity and sometimes childcare now adds up to more than her income.

"My gas and electricity bill was £56 a month, for both. And now, I'm spending £60 in just over two weeks, that's not right, that's not sitting right with me."

"Either the government or whoever is letting companies make so much profit, they need to put a stop to it."

"I never believed I would have to make the choice between heating and food."

Amber says she's now receiving benefits but there is a lot of stigma around needing that support.

Amber is now receiving benefits and says it is concerning to hear people's opinions about those who need this type of support.

"There is a huge stigma when it comes to benefits. I have a chronic pain condition - so sometimes I can't walk and my hands don't work properly.

"I get PIP ( Personal Independence Payment) and people say things like 'oh yeah, you're just saying you have a disability, so you can't work'. No, I want to work!”

But Amber said she feels like she does not deserve extra help from places like food banks, because she believes that there are people who are less fortunate than her.

"The thing about food banks, I feel like I'm pulling away from other people. At the moment there are people who cannot feed their children. I don't want to take away from them."

"As long as the baby doesn't go without food and without milk I'm happy. I can live off toast."

Like so many, Amber is struggling with everyday bills, including her food shop.

Tŷ Croeso, a food bank in Clydach in Swansea, said it has seen 50% more people needing its services.

A UK Government Spokesperson said: “We understand that people are concerned about the cost of living challenges and have announced more support to target the most vulnerable households.

"The cost of living support is worth £26 billion in 2023-24, as well as benefit upgrades, which are worth £11 billion for working age and disabled people."

The full interview can be found on Hansh's YouTube channel.

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