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Gran says cost of living hit so hard she'll have to buy Christmas presents from Poundland

Gran says cost of living hit so hard she'll have to buy Christmas presents from Poundland

The grandmother is planning to go without heating this winter, despite it exacerbating her arthritis

A grandmother struggling to navigate the cost of living crisis has said she will have no option but to buy Christmas presents at Poundland this year.

Marianne Kiely, 59, from Willenhall, West Midlands, has opened up about her heartbreak that she will barely be able to treat her grandchildren this Christmas.

She explained that energy bills have now risen to the point she won't be using the heating this winter, but even this won't solve her cost of living woes.

Marianne is living on Universal Credit.
BPM Media

Marianne currently lives with her daughter, who has epilepsy, and explained that she suffers from arthritis, which is exacerbated by the cold.

"We're having to keep the heating off. We've got no choice," she told Birmingham Live.

"I'm putting extra clothing on, to be honest. A couple of times already we have had to go without any electricity.

"I'll make sure the children have got presents. But it will be Poundland things, it won't be anything expensive as everything costs too much."

The 59-year-old revealed that ill health forced her to give up work and she now relies on Universal Credit to get by.

While Marianne has sought additional financial support in the form of Personal Independence Payments (PIP), her applications have been rejected.

The gran plans to shop at Poundland this Christmas.
Fotomaton/Alamy Stock Photo

Despite Universal Credit being designed to help cover the basic costs of living, Marianne said it's not enough, admitting she's already had to use a food bank.

The grandmother said that she's ultimately been left 'scared' about her ability to survive this winter.

"I'm turning everything off. Even the washing, I'm letting it build up a bit more to save on electric and do it all in one go," she asserted.

"I'm absolutely scared by how high everything is going to go. I don't know how I'm going to manage.

"I know the government has helped with one-off payments but that's not going to go far in the long run. It's a scary situation."

Marianne's fears for her future have also been shared by the charity Scope, which advocates for disability equality.

Its director of strategy, James Taylor, said that the one-off payments 'will not touch the sides' of the problems faced by those struggling and disabled like Marianne.

Marianne is not turning on her heating this winter.
Islandstock/Alamy Stock Photo

He said today (3 October): "We've been inundated with calls from disabled people who have cut back everything they can. They're taking drastic actions like skipping meals, cutting back on washing and turning off fridges, and it's still not enough.

"Life costs more when you're disabled, but the new government chose to ignore that fact in last week's budget. We need targeted support for disabled people to get through this crisis.

"The government should double the disability payment and provide another cost of living payment to those on the lowest incomes."

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions told Tyla: "We recognise people are struggling with rising prices which is why we are saving households an average of £1,000 a year through our new Energy Price Guarantee, allowing working people on Universal Credit to keep £1,000 more on average of what they earn and providing eight million of the lowest-income households with additional direct support worth at least £1,200."

Featured Image Credit: BPM Media/SST/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Real Life