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Health worker forced to remortgage her house and take on extra shifts just to survive

A mother-of-two from Pembrokeshire has said she has been forced to remortgage her home and take on extra shifts at work due to the ongoing cost of living crisis that is currently affecting millions of people across the country. Beverly Griffiths, a health worker, has said she has been left with no choice other than to reorganize her finances and work more hours due to the sky-high prices of a range of everyday goods coupled with low wages.

Mrs Griffiths, a medical secretary who has worked for the NHS for 17 years, is just one of many who is struggling to come to terms with life in 2022 thanks to inflated energy prices and a rise in everyday necessities such as fuel, which has recently hit an all-time high. Things are so bad that she has remortgaged the family home, taken on extra shifts to cover costs, and even put off house repairs because she simply doesn’t have the finances to cover the work. Wages in the NHS, too, have not increased enough, she claims.

“Any tiny increases we have had do not come close to meeting the rising cost of living,” she said. “We have been left with no choice other than to remortgage our home to have money left over each month after paying our ever-increasing utility bills, childcare, and to cover the rising cost of weekly food shopping, fuel, and other essentials.

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“We also lost a fence in a recent storm which we cannot afford to replace leaving our back garden less secure for the children and our dogs. But we simply do not have the money to get this fixed as the price of everything has increased significantly since the pandemic.”

Mrs Griffiths is grateful that her and her family’s situation is by no means the worst experienced by people in the current climate but she has admitted that the future holds many concerns if people’s pay packets do not increase to keep up with the rise in living costs. You can read more articles on the effects the cost-of-living crisis is having on people here.

“Everybody’s struggle is unique to their own situation,” she said. “The rising cost of living is affecting us greatly. I am not on the lowest pay band and I’m thankful we had options to ease pressures but we do worry what the future holds as the cost of living continues to rise and our salaries fail to keep up.”

Mrs Griffiths is a member of the union Unison Cymru/Wales, which is campaigning for “an immediate above-inflation pay rise for health workers” and action to be taken on pay banding and issues concerning unpaid overtime. The union is organizing transport from Wales for those who want to attend a march in London this Saturday protesting against the cost of living crisis.

“The devastating impact of this crisis is being felt by families and households across Wales and throughout the UK,” said Karen Loughlin, general secretary at Unison Cymru/Wales. “Immediate action must be taken to ease the pressures on the finances of all public sector workers who are, as we all know, the backbone of our economy.

“We speak for all those hard-working families and we will continue to fight for their voices to be heard in what is the worst crisis of its kind for a generation. Events such as the march in London are an essential way to ensure this happens.”

A spokesman for the Welsh Government, which is responsible for the NHS in Wales, said: “Our focus as a government has always been to help people with everyday costs by introducing a wide range of programmes, which puts money back in their pockets, and targeting support to where it is needed most. We are extending free primary school meals, helping people get the benefits and support they are entitled to, investing in warm homes, and helping people pay their energy bills. We will continue to do all we can to support people with the unprecedented increases in the cost of living.Since November we have provided a £380m package of support to help meet some of these pressures.”

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