TWO single mothers have issued an urgent call for more help after warning the UK Government’s current cost of living support “doesn’t even touch the sides”.

The two Scots said it was already a struggle to get by each day before the cost-of-living crisis.

Gillian Lynch, from Port Glasgow, is on employment support allowance as well as the Personal Independence Payment. She has two kids: five-year-old Aria and two-year-old Scot, who has Down’s syndrome.

She told The National that each week “it just seems to get worse”, saying it’s becoming increasingly difficult to budget as inflation soars.

READ MORE: 'I don't know how I can budget anymore': Scots mum hit hard by cost of living crisis

“My main worry is keeping my kids warm,” she said. “It brings my stress and anxiety levels very high. It’s going to be a massive struggle for my family.”

Lynch feels there’s not enough help for single mothers like her. Lynch has recently moved in with her 69-year-old dad. Caring for him as well as her two kids, she said, is “an everyday struggle” as she stresses about paying her bills and getting enough food and paying her energy bills.

Asked what she wants to see from the Scottish and UK Governments, she said: “More money. Everything is rising. There’s just no living with the money we’re getting.

The National: Gillian Lynch wants more support from the Government to help with rising billsGillian Lynch wants more support from the Government to help with rising bills (Image: Newsquest)

“I got myself into extra debt because I can’t pay my bills. And then before I know it, I have another debt on top of that I can’t pay. We also need more support for single parents.”

She adds that many of those in power don’t understand the real struggles of those dealing with financial insecurity and poverty.

“If they were to come into our house and live in our house for a week, they wouldn’t be able to do it,” she said. “They wouldn’t be able to live the life that we live.

“Every day’s a struggle, and we have to pick ourselves up for the sake of our kids and try and get on the best we can to give the kids the best we can give them with the availability we’ve got, and with the cash we’ve got. So I don’t think they understand exactly how it is for parents.”

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On top of rising energy bills, Lynch has seen her weekly shops soar in price. Her weekly food costs used to run her £200 a week but is now reaching £300.

Taylor Cameron is in a similar boat. She is a 23-year-old single mother from Greenock with two kids, 16-month-old Storie-Lee and five-month-old Apollo-James.

Cameron is on Universal Credit, which saw the extra £20 per week added during the Covid crisis scrapped last October.

At the time, charities warned it would send hundreds of thousands of children into poverty.

“The cut happened when I was just about to give birth to my first daughter,” she told The National.

“I don’t have any family that could help, I just had to scrimp and scrape.

“I was looking after my granddad at the time, but with that cut to Universal Credit, I couldn’t even top up the meter.

“There were times when the house was cold and we didn’t put the heating on, we just wore extra jumpers.”

Cameron is worried about how she will be able to afford to bathe her kids every day, as rising power bills make everything from washing machines to showering much more expensive.

To save money, she often keeps her curtains closed to trap in heat while wearing extra jumpers and restricting when she turns on the heating.

The National: Taylor Cameron, left, and Gillian Lynch are both using the Home Start serviceTaylor Cameron, left, and Gillian Lynch are both using the Home Start service (Image: Newsquest)

Energy prices rose in April by 54% to an average of £1971 a year for a household. And they are set to rise in October again, with Prime Minister Liz Truss announcing on Thursday she will cap bills at £2500.

But Cameron is already struggling to get by: “My energy shot up to just over £400. I ended up in debt because of it. I couldn’t afford it.

“The £400 is basically my shopping for the month.”

On top of the physical aspects of financial insecurity, there is the mental factor, and Cameron is feeling the full weight of the stress that goes along with worrying how the next energy bill will be paid.

“I don’t think you can overstate the fact that children are only wee for a short time,” she said. “And for their parents to constantly be in a state of being stressed or feeling anxious through their childhood is just so unfair.”

READ MORE: Scotland’s councils plan ‘warm banks’ to help freezing Scots

For the support that is currently there, Cameron said “it won’t even touch the sides”.

Regardless though, Lynch, said her kids will always come first: “I would rather suffer and not have anything than my kids suffer.

“I’ll always make sure my kids get something.”

Both parents are involved with the HomeStart scheme, which aims to offer emotional and practical support and friendship.

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