Case Study: The single mother

'I'm encouraged by the cash going to primary schools'

Lisa Byrne

(Mother to Ainsley, 6 and Teighan, 4)

Home: Tollcross, Glasgow

Age: 24

Benefits (per week): £99.19 income support, £26.80 child benefit, £50 housing benefit

Debts: £62 crisis loan

Outgoings (per week): £10 phone bill, £10 television licence, £10 gas, £10 electricity, children's clothes and food

Politics: Will vote for whichever party has the best policies for single parent families

Hopes for Budget: More practical help with being a single parent, with money towards children's clothes, food and the cost of living

Actual effect of Budget: £413 per year better off, due to an increase in child tax credit of £360. Child benefit increases by £39 per year, and income tax is reduced by £13 per year.

"I was hoping for more help for single parents. Although there is a big increase in the child tax credit, it will not make a huge difference each week. I would like more help towards the cost of things. The Government should reduce the cost of heating, electricity, travel and clothing my children. People don't realise how much this costs. It is some help though, so I am glad for that. Enough to feel a difference, I have really been struggling this year.

"I am pleased tax has been put up on cigarettes. I have tried to give up, because I don't have the money. This will actually make me smoke less.

"I am encouraged by the money going to primary schools, I hope Ainsley and Teighan's school will invest in more computers.

"I don't agree with the rise in pensions for the elderly. Pensioners get a lot of benefits for gas, electricity and travel. They should get the same as anyone else, not a big increase because they are old.

Genevieve Roberts

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