I Daniel Blake: a story being played out daily around Croydon

CROYDON COMMENTARY: Over the weekend, I Daniel Blake, the heart-rending story of our broken benefits system, was named British film of the year at the BAFTAs. And here at Inside Croydon Towers, we received this account from a Croydon mother which demonstrates the daily, desperate struggles faced by some of the most vulnerable in our society*

A scene from Ken Loach's BAFTA-winning I Daniel Blake. Its account of the broken benefits system is played out in Croydon daily

A scene from Ken Loach’s BAFTA-winning I Daniel Blake. The broken benefits system is played out in London daily

I am currently working full-time as well as being a carer for my 12-year-old daughter. She has just been discharged from hospital and I have had to take two weeks off to care for her.

Being a carer and working full-time has been very hard and challenging for both off us.

I live with my daughter in a privately rented property, which is where I was placed after being in temporary housing for months. I pay a substantial amount of rent out of my wages, which leaves us with next to nothing to live off for the month (including bills and travel). My working tax and child tax credits have been stopped, so I only receive child benefit. I am in no fit situation to keep the property up and running due to this.

We have had to stay with friends and family to get by. But this still does not help. I am trying to find some sort of housing scheme or associations that help carers like myself, as I am finding it very hard to keep my head above water.

I now have been forced to go part-time as I can not work so many hours and care for my child, and pay the amount of rent I am paying.

The flat has a vast amount of mould and mildew, which I have reported. It smells.

There are also mice, and I have also reported this, and sent pictures to my landlord and council.

There doesn’t seem to be any options for people like myself.

My daughter struggles a lot as she wants to be at home. She understands I am financially unstable, and this just makes me feel worse.

I feel I have exhausted all other options. I need help. But there’s no where else to turn.

* Croydon Commentaries are usually authored pieces, a platform for all points of view. On this occasion, we have agreed to withhold the author’s identity

  • Inside Croydon is Croydon’s only independent news source, still based in the heart of the borough. In 2016, we averaged 17,000 page views every week
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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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1 Response to I Daniel Blake: a story being played out daily around Croydon

  1. I sympathise greatly with the situation described here. This lady is one of hundreds of people in Croydon with caring responsibilities who through no fault of their own find themselves homeless or living in unsatisfactory accommodation.

    If the author of the piece would like to contact me I can put her in touch with one of her local councillors and/or Alison Butler, the Cabinet Member for Housing in Croydon. They in turn can liaise with the team of officers at the Council who do their very best to give advice to those in housing difficulties.

    There is unlikely to be any magic answer to this lady’s problems as the shortage of adequate housing in the borough is so serious. However some things can be done. Ultimately it needs action by the Government to tackle the housing crisis, including in my view a major programme of building council and social housing.

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