Case study: Laura
Laura, aged 48, has lived in London most of her life. She worked in low-skilled jobs until becoming a mother. With no support from the father, she found it difficult to cope. Her real words are spoken by an actor in a film produced by iceandfire.
This is an extract from her interview:
I know there's many people out in that world that's so much worse off than me but it is hard. I'm back to square one and on my own. Right at the moment I'm in the process of looking for work. I've got no qualifications, and the jobs that I do look for in the paper are just ... you need qualifications, and to be younger.
My income is £120 a fortnight. I fell into council tax arrears, rent arrears - ended up being £1,000. I just never saw a light at the end of it. The door-stop lenders, I've used them before. At the time you see it as a way out. Honestly, it really is easy when you are in desperate situation to see money signs and think I've solved one problem - but really, it's just making ten more.
Then, I came home one day and I had a letter saying that the bailiffs would be back the next day unless I phoned to make the full payment. I had to agree to pay the £95 on the following week just to keep them away from my door until I sorted out what I do.
They are so intimidating and frightening. You are scum, that's how they look at you. I'm not going to sit here and say that I want them to wipe my debt, but be a bit more understanding about people and the income they have. If they are only paying a bloody pound a week, allow that because you are offering something. You are not saying: "sod you, I'm not going to pay and I don't want to pay it". That's not my attitude.
I can't remember the last time I had a good laugh. I am always stressed. When I go to bed at night, I think, what's going to drop through my door tomorrow? I don't go out, I can't afford it.
I won't be rich, I will never be rich but I'd love to get to a point where I can say, you know what - I've paid my bills last week and this week I can go out for the day or go out with my mates and have a good night. I would love my life to be like that. Right now, it's hard to see a way ahead. I am in this humdrum and I can't get out of it. It's not because I don't want to. I know it's hard and you have to work, earn your money and work for it. I understand that.
Posted on 12 October 2010