29 November 2021

Struggling to make ends meet

With no sign of the promised end to the pay freeze, and the cost of living escalating, you have been sharing your experiences with us.

PCS members have been telling us how the current cost of living crisis is impacting on their daily lives.

One admin officer told us: “I work in a rural area so there aren’t many opportunities for progression. As I am at the top of the pay scale I have not had more that 1% pay rise for many years. However the cost of living has increased far more than 1% in that time so I have in reality had a pay cut every year. I live alone so don’t have any other income and I struggle every single month.

“I have just been informed by my energy provider that the cost of my electricity and gas are to go up again. I already have to be frugal with the central heating. I’m not quite at the stage of having to choose between heating and eating but I fear that I may be in that position in the near future.

“Add to that the state of our pensions and I fear that I may never be able to retire. I really don’t know how I am supposed to save towards my retirement on what I am paid.”

The issue of rising energy costs is one that is impacting on many members, particularly while working from home.

“With regards to the increase in the cost of living, I am currently working in a dark room with a lamp on my desk, gloves on my hands and a throw wrapped around me.  This is what I will have to put up with until it is safe to return to the office.”

Another member told us: “This morning my gas and electric supplier sent me a letter saying they are increasing my direct debit. Because of the rise in energy prices they are estimating it to be £1900 – it was £900 last year.  I just don’t know how I’m going to pay this bill.”

Even for those who are office-based, the pay freeze and cost of living crisis still affects them and their families:

“With the rising costs of electric, gas, food, travel all going up my family are really struggling to make ends meet. My son who is 24 earns more than me and my husband. My son and daughter both live at home and are working and studying from home and my husband also works from home so we are using more electricity and more heating, going through basic things like tea, coffee, milk, toilet roll much more because they are all at home.

“I work part time and am partially retired so on reduced income. My husband suffers from mental health issues and with rising costs we are constantly worried about where we will get money to pay for things. When you sometimes have to borrow money from your son and daughter it’s a disgrace.”

Use the new PCS pensions loss calculator, which will show how much you have overpaid for your pension this month and then share your loss on social media on payday. You should also input your loss into our editable graphic, and use our e-action to share what you have lost with their MP.

Tell us about your financial struggles and email your graphic to editor@pcs.org.uk We want as many people as possible to do this on payday.