Kim Steward, SHS Practitioner, and Sally*, one of the mothers she has been working with, were both interviewed for a column in the Guardian last week. It began:
“In east London, at her children’s school, Sally (not her real name) is calculating with the family practitioner how much debt she and the children are in. “How much is it now? £500?” “Yes, £500 overdraft.”
It’s been a year and a half since her troubled husband left the family, leaving Sally to look after their five children alone. The youngest of the girls is only three, and 11-year-old son Connor (“obsessed with computers”) is autistic.
With the right support, the breakup of the marriage could have been the start of something better and more financially stable for them. But instead Sally has found herself getting into debt to feed her children. And all because she’s been accused of still living with her husband.
This is the human face of the Concentrix scandal. The US company with a UK government contract hit the news last month for falsely withholding child tax credits. Over the course of the past two years, the firm had sent nearly 1 million spam letters to tax credit claimants accusing them of providing incorrect information about their relationship status, working hours or childcare arrangements – ultimately leaving scores of families, like Sally and her children, to get by without the benefit.”
You can read the article in full here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/06/concentric-poverty-debt-child-tax-credits
Well done, Kim!