Supporting my sons on £184 a week

Adele Guntrip

I’m branch secretary for Hampshire Socialist Party, I’m on the committee for Hampshire Alliance to Protect Public Services, and president of Winchester Socialist Student Society also. If I was a Tory I would want paying for all of this.

It takes a lot of my time but I do it because I want to help people and change things. I am currently studying for a PhD in working class history, I get no funding and I got no funding for my BA or my MA.

When I studied I had to take part-time cleaning jobs to support me and my sons. I could have taken a full-time job and tried to study at the same time but I wanted to be there for my children. So I had to live in poverty.

I was told time and time again that I would be better off on the ‘dole’. I would not give up, as being a single mum on a council estate, I thought ‘why can’t I do what others do?’ Today I sit with other PhD students from wealthy backgrounds who cannot believe where I come from.

This is all wrong. I support my sons on £184 a week. My eldest, aged 20, is doing an accountancy course. He was told if he did that he would have his Jobseeker’s Allowance stopped as he was not looking for work. College or dole, he was told, therefore I support him to get him a better life.

My middle son is 17 and at college, he is very intelligent but gets no EMA and I support him as best I can. My youngest is due to leave school this year and I will have the same issues. Sometimes we do not eat or have fuel for a bath, but we are happy.

I am standing in Winchester as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate to help others like me. The people I have spoken to in my neighbourhood are all pleased that we are standing up for the things that matter. People matter most – not money.