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UK Politics

Letter from eight-year-old girl to Labour MP Stephen Timms highlights crumbling living standards

Girl writes: 'We are now even finding it difficult to feed'

A heartfelt letter from an eight-year-old girl to Stephen Timms, the Shadow Minister for Employment, has highlighted the crumbling living standards experienced by a growing number of families in Britain.

The handwritten plea, presented to the Labour MP for East Ham at his regular constituency surgery, asks the politician to intervene on her family’s behalf because “my parents keep telling me we don’t have enough money.”

She describes how they are all sleeping in one room so they can rent out their spare bedroom and pay the rent and says that “we now even find it difficult to feed.”

She encloses her school report to show how well she is doing in her studies and says “I am a hard working girl that wants to learn more and more but due to the financial situation of my parents I am unable to attend teaching lessons and swimming lessons on Saturdays because my parents say they don’t have enough money.”

Mr Timms told The Independent: “It’s difficult to draw any wider implications from this letter but certainly there are a growing number of people on the verge of destitution because of the bedroom tax, welfare reforms and immigration changes.

“You can just see it from the number of people using food banks. The problem for this family is an immigration one. They have been denied leave to remain so they can’t work.  However the government has not said they will remove them yet so they have no chance to appeal and put their side of the story over.

“This family is only surviving because of help from friends and handouts from the church. Her parents also brought their daughter’s school reports to the constituency surgery, which showed she had all A’s. She obviously a remarkable little girl facing a very tough time but who knows if she will even be here in a couple of years?”

Ed Miliband attacked the Conservatives  over Britain's "living crisis" in last week's Prime Minster's Questions. Mr Cameron argued the best way to improve living standards was to cut taxes and boost the economy, while Miliband argued that the Tories were in "total denial" about the living crisis, pointing the rising use of food banks.

The Labour leader said living standards fell in 39 of the 40 months that Cameron has been Prime Minister.