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I’m struggling so much with my energy bills I have to share a bed with my mum – I’ve got less than £1 a week spare

A WOMAN has been forced to share a bed with her mum because she can’t afford to pay her bills.

Lorraine Foster, 57, is a full time carer for her mum Sylvia, 86, who suffered a stroke in 2019.

Lorraine is a full time carer to her elderly mum, who suffered a stroke in 2019

Lorraine often has less than £1 per week spare after her energy bills doubled this year and the pair can only afford to share a bed.

As well as Sylvia’s stroke, Lorraine is disabled due to a car crash in 2012 and is still receiving chemotherapy for lung cancer, while both women have Type 2 diabetes.

Lorraine survives on Personal Independence Payment and Employment Support Allowance, which provide her about £1,100 per month between them.

She said: “I’m not left with much. I haven’t bought myself any clothes for up to three years. I’m wearing what I had: pyjamas covered in holes…I’m 57.

“I’m quite bubbly. I try to keep positive. But you want to cry with the struggles now. I can’t believe how we’re still suffering.”

She added that she used to spend about £10 each on electricity and gas for a week, but that has now rocketed to £30 each as the cost of living crisis bites.

According to Lorraine, Sylvia “feels the cold” badly and so they have to keep the house heated, and accept the huge bills that come with that.

She continued: “I’m trying to look after me, as well as mum. My only escape is connecting to other people through online groups and art classes. I don’t know what I will do if I can’t afford the internet.

“Mum and I share a bed, so when it broke I had to borrow money to buy a new one. It’s not unusual for me to have less than £1 to my name by the end of the week. I’m not ready for the prices to rise. How am I going to pay the bills?”

Lorraine also had a message for new PM Rishi Sunak: “You need to swap places. Live as a carer for a week or two, to see what it’s like for real people…[They] don’t realise how bad it is.”

The long-suffering carer is terrified at the prospect of benefits not being increased in line with inflation in next week’s Autumn Budget.

Support for those struggling include direct support with bills from the government for people on low-incomes as well as various independent charities and food banks.

You can find information about your nearest food bank on The Trussell Trust’s website, while information on other support can be found by searching “cost of living support” online.

Lorraine and Sylvia have to share a bed to keep costs down

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