Living below the breadline

The Northall family who live in Erdington Road are one of many in Blackpool living on the breadline
The Northall family who live in Erdington Road are one of many in Blackpool living on the breadline
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FAMILIES caught in Blackpool’s poverty trap today revealed the daily struggle to keep their heads above water.

In the town’s Bloomfield and Claremont wards a half of all children now live below the breadline.

Unemployment is rising leaving families in the low income areas sacrificing paying bills to make sure they have enough money to buy food.

The Northall family are not unique. They live in Erdington Road – in the heart of Bloomfield’s many terraced streets.

Diane, 40, mother of Dawn, 21, Desmond, 18 and Danny, 14, cannot find work to support her family who are either still in education or unemployed themselves.

The family receives income support and child benefits which total £166 a week and is spread between bills and trips to the supermarket.

Mrs Northall used to work as a press operator in a factory, but has been out of work since she had children while husband David, 42, makes daily trips to the job centre as he attempts to get back into work.

Mrs Northall said: “It’s really hard. We have to miss one bill to pay another. One bill has to go unpaid or you have to borrow off your family which is even worse.

“There needs to be more money for the kids because a lot of them are walking the streets and there is nothing for them to do.”

Her husband David, 42, lost his job as a door supervisor and has not been able to find employment for two years.

He added: “There are no hours available for me to work and it’s really difficult.

“We are on benefits, but there are still bills to pay and a lot of teenagers end up on the streets.”

The Northalls’ struggle mirrors the stark warning by Blackpool Council over child poverty in Blackpool,

Sandra Lawton, 41, from Claremont ward’s Chesterfield Road, North Shore, has had to help her daughter Hannah, 18, with the financial costs of her first child.

Mrs Lawton said: “She is a new mum and has been waiting for 11 weeks to get help to pay towards baby milk, but she is entitled to a lot more than £15 and should be getting it. She has got us which is the main thing, but if she didn’t I would dread to think what would have happened.”