Sophie Hook, 29, has a two-year-old daughter, Nellie. Before becoming a single mother, she worked in a senior role at an estate agent based in Coventry. After maternity leave, she found a place at a good nursery but was denied flexible working and had to leave her job. She is now working part-time, and uses universal credit to contribute to childcare costs. Her UC payment comes on the ninth of the month – but nursery fees have to be paid by the first.
“There have been periods where haven’t been able to put money on my gas meter for hot water until that payment on the ninth. Food would be in the cupboards, but in short supply, enough for my daughter to have healthy meals that I could make in bulk, but it was a struggle.