- Lawrence Cowley and Matt Bracy
- BBC News
On a hot May afternoon in the UK, Brian Turner skipped breakfast and lunch. He says he can get something to eat at night.
Turner, 49, lives with his Poodle and Jack Russell hybrids in a cozy ground floor apartment in southwestern Ipswich, east England. At age 6, Rocky’s dog became essential in Turner’s life.
Turner and his partner Paula McIntosh bought Rocky when he was a puppy. Turner was a very talented employee, but in 2009 he interrupted his life to care for a Macintosh who was suffering from serious mental health issues.
Until one night in February 2019, Macintosh died of a previously undiagnosed heart disease. She is 54 years old.
A few months later, Turner’s mother, Maureen, died. Then came the Govt-19 epidemic. “It was tough,” he says.
Photos of Paula McIntosh boast on a side desk, and a small evil basket containing her ashes is placed on the window.
Turner was able to live for many years on very little money. He constantly monitors prices at various stores, looks for discount food items in supermarkets, and buys in bulk if possible.
After Macintosh’s death, he was able to buy enough food for himself and Rocky for just பவு 40 a month.
Brian Turner won 64 642 (R $ 3,800) from Universal Credit – a British government community program similar to the Bolsa Família / Auxílio Brasil. He has the following monthly expenses:
– Rent for a one-bedroom apartment owned by the municipality: 6 316 (R $ 1.9 thousand);
– Electricity and gas: 100 100 (R $ 600)
– Water: 25 lbs (R $ 150)
– Rocky’s Pet Food, Livestock Plan and Insurance: 100 100 (R $ 600)
– Your food, clothing, transportation and other contingent expenses: 100 100 (R $ 600)
But as food prices and consumer prices rise, the budget cannot be maintained.
“Since we came out of Lockdown, costs have simply tripled,” he said. “The cost of living has gone up. I have to ask neighbors, friends and family for help. And I have used food banks a few times.”
“When I go to Citizens Counseling [ONG britânica que oferece aconselhamento independente] Get a grocery, they tell me to control the amount of groceries I receive, to make sure they’re fair to everyone and not become a weekly donation to anyone, “Turner continues.”
And because he is so far away from someone who is in financial trouble, the competition in the discount food categories has intensified. “The others are in the same boat as me,” he says.
Attempts to get Turner’s job in vain were in vain because he was taking medication for epilepsy and migraine.
He once filled 15 job applications a day for all kinds of jobs and companies, from catering to offices, but he did not succeed.
“I talked to some employers and they replied that for insurance reasons, they could not hire me because of my health,” he says.
Almost all the money left over after payment is spent on food. But he says it now costs twice as much to buy a monthly meal that cost 40 40 (R $ 240) a year ago. So he only has enough money to buy food for a week and a half every month.
“There are days when I only have one meal,” says Turner. “I should not do this because I have to take my medication with or near meals. Sometimes it can confuse medication.”
But Rocky’s eating habits have not been affected by rising costs. “Sometimes I want my dog to eat, I don’t eat,” he says.
When asked if he would ever donate Rocky to save money, Turner replied: “He’s the only reason I’ve progressed. He’s the dog type. If you need a pet, he will come.”
According to Turner, “I have to stop eating to pay for his food. Now he’s two months old enough. After that, I do not know what to expect.” “If it weren’t for him, I would definitely have lost my mind.”
“I have spoken to many who are facing great difficulties,” he says. “I want MPs to try to live on Universal Credit for three months. They will eventually understand that they are not alive enough.”
The British government says it understands the pressures people face on the rising cost of living.
Like most people in the UK and the rest of the world, Turner’s financial worries are now “permanent”.
Sally Harrison, professional service manager at Citizens Counseling in Ipswich, says people are increasingly dependent on the company.
“They came to us once in search of a food bank because it was a difficult month,” he says.
“Now it has become routine. They come to us every month without being able to pay. People are worried and panicked by the huge rise in fuel prices.”
What is Turner’s future?
Asked if he has money for leisure, Turner says no.
Ipswich says he can’t even go to the city by bus when there is no good reason. Turner had to go to town and wait until there were several reasons to justify the cost.
And he last went on a long weekend in 2015 to visit his family on vacation.
Before he died, Paula Macintosh told Turner to throw his ashes into the sea. And that last request remains unfulfilled. Currently, he can not afford to rent a boat or even go to the beach.
“I still can’t,” he said. “Once things calm down, I’ll think about it again and scatter your ashes.”
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