Single mum eats once a day and has suffered malnutrition amid cost of living crisis

·3-min read
Kelly Thomson, 43, lives on £40 per week to feed herself and her two kids. (swns)
Kelly Thomson, 43, lives on £40 per week to feed herself and her two kids. (swns)

A single mum who lives on one meal a day and has been 'hospitalised twice for malnutrition' is afraid high inflation will cripple her family.

Kelly Thomson, 43, lives on £40 per week to feed herself and her two children amid the rising cost of living.

Although Kelly's universal credit covers her £1,300 monthly rent and a few other costs, she says she has just £160 a month left for everything else.

Households faced a worse-than-expected hit in July as grocery prices spiked and pushed Consumer Prices Index inflation (CPI) to 10.1%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Read more: Cost of living crisis: The everyday food items soaring in price

Shopping cart full of food in the supermarket aisle. Side tilt view. Horizontal composition
Food prices have soared amid high inflation. (Getty)

Kelly, from Slough, Berkshire, said rising food prices meant she could only eat an evening meal so she could afford to feed her son, 14, and daughter, 11.

She has lost two stone in weight as a result and was forced to take her daughter's birthday gift to second-hand retailer Cash Converters to get money for food.

She has twice ended up in hospital suffering from malnutrition, she claims - even needing blood transfusions to replenish her depleted iron levels because she can't afford fresh food.

Kelly said: "I hate waking up every morning and thinking 'oh my God, not again'.

"The cost of living is crazy now and I don't know what I'm going to do. We have nothing. I honestly feel I'm going to have to resort to begging.

"It's worse now than ever before. I feel sick over seeing the new inflation rate.

"Everything is more expensive every time I go in the shop and I can't bear to look at the gas meter.

"I do think about stealing but I can't bear the thought of what would happen to my kids if I got arrested."

Read more: UK's richest 1% of earners are only group not to see real pay cut

UK inflation has hit 10.1% (ONS/CPI)
UK inflation has hit 10.1% (ONS/CPI)

"I just cry every day because it's getting worse and I feel so trapped, like I'm suffocating and there's nothing I can do.

"It feels like everything is spiralling out of control - we need someone to step in and help the people that need it."

Kelly gives the kids breakfast, and they get lunch in school, but she says sharing an evening meal with them is the only time she can feed herself each day.

She added: "I'm worried for my health, I'm faint with hunger all the time. I've fought and fought and I just don't know what to do any more.

"In June, my children watched me collapse. I've never been so scared in my life and the impact on their mental health must be awful."

Inflation was the biggest jump in the cost of living since February 1982, when CPI reached 10.4%, according to ONS estimates.

It was also a massive jump from the 9.4% level in June.

The ONS added food and non-alcoholic beverage prices increased by 12.7%, a rise from 9.8% the month before and the highest since August 2008.