I’ve been on Universal Credit since January, which means I get £1,174 each month (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The moment I finished reading a letter notifying me that my council tax was going up for the second time in three months, I burst into tears.

I was informed that – due to a reassessment of my local area – my council tax was increasing from £174 per month to £215 per month for the next year.

As someone in between jobs right now and on Universal Credit, I was shocked and became extremely worried about how I was going to pay for this alongside a rising cost of living.

I ended up crying myself to sleep that night.

So when I first read the news that Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak – a man in charge of public spending – had entered The Times Rich List for the first time, I was extremely angry.

This news came right after he seemingly defeatedly declared about the rising cost of living: ‘The next few months will be tough.’

This man is completely out of touch with what struggling people like me are going through and it’s an absolute insult that he’s in charge of how the public’s money is being spent.

I have been in between jobs since January this year – as well as on and off since the start of the pandemic (which is why I’m writing this piece anonymously so it doesn’t jeopardise my job prospects).

I’m sending out my CV, utilising my network and willing to take a pay cut to get a job that will enable me to work my way up.

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However, I’m overqualified for the junior roles within my industry and have lost two years of industry knowledge and networking for the roles at my level. This is because my industry relies on people going to events, so if places that hold events aren’t able to open due to the pandemic, then I am out of work.

So I’ve been on Universal Credit since January, which means I get £1,174 each month.

On top of my council tax increase this month, my rent increased in March. Then over the following couple of months, my gas, electricity and water all increased by 50%. Luckily, I had paid for the TV licence the month before, so that wasn’t due.

I’ve cut back on absolutely everything – I walk to all my interviews, I eat once a day and it’s the same meal every day. It’s basic – a jacket potato and beans. If you’re lucky to get a big jacket potato, you can split that into two meals.

I’m not sure what else I can cut back in order to pay these increased bills while I’m looking for work.

Like everyone else, I need help. So it’s an absolute travesty that Rishi Sunak recently said: ‘There is no measure any government could take, no law we could pass, that can make these global forces disappear overnight.’

This is despite Boris Johnson ordering his MPs to vote down Labour’s demands for an emergency budget to tackle the cost of living crisis, as well as Liberal Democrat proposals to slash VAT to save the average family £600.

In January, Sunak said ‘Of course, I understand people’s anxiety and concern about rising prices and inflation’ – but how can he when him and his wife are reportedly worth £730million?

Rishi ‘Rich List’ Sunak – you and your wife may be one of the richest couples in the country, but your personal attitude is poor

His lack of support for people like me right now – while making it on a list of the top 250 richest people in the UK – feels utterly ridiculous and completely disingenuous.

People like me need help and we need it fast.

That means we need to increase the money for Universal Credit, help struggling pensioners and make sure NHS staff are better supported.

To do this, I agree with Keir Starmer that we need to implement a windfall tax on energy firms to help alleviate the cost of energy bills. 

Starmer accused the Prime Minister of having his ‘head in the sand in the middle of an economic crisis’, then added: ‘Doesn’t he see that every single day he delays his inevitable U-turn – he’s going to do it – he’s choosing to let people struggle when they don’t need to?’

I’m one of those struggling people and I honestly don’t know how I’m going to cope for the foreseeable future if something doesn’t change – and fast.

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I may have to start selling items of clothing, or my laptop. However, I need that for job applications, so that can’t work. I’ve also thought about retraining in another industry, but that requires money. 

Rishi ‘Rich List’ Sunak – you and your wife may be one of the richest couples in the country, but your personal attitude is poor.

Your priority right now should be to support struggling people like me – at all costs.

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