'One birthday present for each child': Nurse on cost of living struggle

Night nurse Laura Black, from Dereham, is working two jobs to support her family

Night nurse Laura Black, from Dereham, is working two jobs to support her family - Credit: Laura Black

A Dereham mum has detailed her perilous financial situation amid dramatic rises in the cost of living. 

Laura Black, who works as a night nurse at Dereham Hospital, said she and partner had been forced to take second jobs to support their family. 

And the 38-year-old admitted they would only be able to afford one birthday present for each of her four children - aged 14, 13, nine and two.

Londoners are being impacted by a growing cost of living crisis

The rising cost of living is impacting millions of people across the UK - Credit: André Langlois

It comes as four out of five Times readers who live in Breckland revealed they were "worse off" than last year

“My partner works six days a week and it just feels like we are working for nothing," said Ms Black, who has seen her energy bills triple, wiping out her spending money. 

“We feel that we can’t treat our children now. We were going to go away on holiday this year, but now that has gone.

“Our four children are only going to get one birthday present, and I am absolutely dreading winter as bills might go up again. How are we going to heat the house?"

Faced with the prospect of a perilous financial situation, Ms Black and her family are doing all they can to cut out unnecessary expenses. 

Ffuel prices are still cheaper now than they were at the start of June

Norfolk, like the rest of the country, has faced rising fuel costs - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

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That includes all of their monthly streaming subscriptions such as Netflix, Britbox and PlayStation Plus. 

Also scrapped was their dog's pet plan, which will only be reinstated once they have the means to pay for it. 

An ongoing consideration is whether to get rid of the family car. 

"My boys loves socialising online with friends on their games console," said Ms Black. "But we have a smart meter fitted and, once the electricity hits our daily budget, I've said to them that everything has to go off. 

Fuel PovertyHeating billsHeatingBillsByline: Sonya Duncan

Millions across the country have been forced to pay more for their energy - Credit: Archant

"While the weather is nice it's been okay, because they've been able to play outside, but they have found it a bit tough because all their friends are online, so they are missing out socially."

Fearing the worst for the month's ahead, she added: "It has gone absolutely crazy. We were a comfortable family a few months ago, but this crisis is making families everywhere suffer.

“This [council tax] rebate that we are all waiting for will help, but it is not going to cover our £260 monthly energy bill.

“You are not here to work; you are here to live."