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Mum forced to tell son, 10, she can’t afford Christmas presents

Cost of Living: Bristol resident says it has 'gone too far'

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A heartbroken mum has been forced to tell her 10-year-old son that he won’t be getting any Christmas presents this year due to the crippling cost-of-living crisis. Christine Borton said she was left devastated at having to tell her son Dayjanta Samuels not to expect any gifts on Christmas Day as she can’t afford them. But the 48-year-old said that sadly, Dayjanta “already knew” and “wasn’t surprised” that that would be the case due to the family’s “desperate” financial situation.

The single mum-of-three said he even looks at the electric meter to see how much the family has used.

Christine said she has been struggling to pay the bills since she was left unemployed due to medial reasons and lost her job as a support worker last year.

She has been forced to survive on food banks and universal credit monthly handouts since April – but says it doesn’t even cover her monthly bills. Now Christine is facing further winter hardship as the cost of living crisis ramps up fuel and electric bills.

It has left her making the difficult decision to cut presents from her seasonal plans so she and her son can make it through the winter months. Christine, who has two grown up children and lives with Dayjanta in Wednesbury in the West Midlands, said: “Life is tough right now.

“I’m unable to cover all my outgoings, I can’t cover my basic needs never mind presents. I told Dayjanta about four weeks ago. I told him there wouldn’t be any presents.

“It broke my heart. He has been looking forward to a Christmas present but he realises now it won’t happen.

“I think in a way he already knew. It wasn’t a surprise. He understands we don’t have the funds for it.

“He knows the situation, he doesn’t ask for sweets and ice cream, he’s pretty laid back and just says: ‘Don’t worry man’.”

Christine added: “I am very worried about the next few months. Dayjanta looks at the electric meter and keeps telling me how much we’ve used – he’s obsessed about our finances all the time.

“A 10-year-old kid shouldn’t have to worry about that. My little one is looking at the gas and electric and screaming at the levels. Before you know it they need topping up and you can’t afford food. I’m even behind on my rent here already, there’s just not enough money.”

Christine, who is trying to get back into work, has called on the government to better support struggling families during the winter. She added: “The only plan I have is to get a job, and trust me I have tried. Now my bills are nearly £1,200 and my universal credit doesn’t cover that. I haven’t been shopping since January. My freezer is empty.

“Companies these days don’t care what situation I’m in, they just care about money. I tell them ‘don’t you see the crisis that is happening.’

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“I have to go to the local shop and look for the offers. I go to the foodbank but you don’t what you really need every time you go there. It’s difficult but you can’t bother people all the time. People are going through their own issues, my little one worries about everyone.

“What the government need to do is see how individuals cope on Universal Credit and provide more support. I don’t think the government really cares. They have given a bit of money to help with energy – but what about gas? What about food? Sometimes I just want to scream and pack up and leave but where am I going to go?”

Football-mad Dayjanta practices everyday and has promised to share his money with his mum when he makes it as a professional player. Christine said: “Dayjanta is football crazy. Every Saturday we practice football at this place. He always says he’s going to share his money with me, telling me all the things he’ll buy me. But he’s a worrier, he’s very concerned about what’s going off.

“But he doesn’t need to be worrying about all that at his age. It’s hard right now but we will carry on.”

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